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S.S. Barton, W.G. Smith, and J.L. Swasey

Curriculum revision for science-oriented degrees can be based on input from research journals and discipline-oriented society meetings, but the professional nature of a landscape horticulture degree requires more detailed industry input. The curriculum revision at the Univ. of Delaware started with discussions amongst faculty who were concerned with the current plant science curriculum. A mail survey of alumni from 1984 to 1993 and employers of Univ. of Delaware Plant and Soil Sciences Dept. graduates was conducted in 1994. Survey results were evaluated and incorporated into the development of two curricula: plant biology and landscape horticulture. Focus groups were used to seek industry input for the landscape horticulture curriculum. Two focus groups—established professionals in the landscape horticulture industry and recent graduates from the Plant and Soil Sciences Dept. with landscape horticulture positions—were convened in December 1995. Focus group members received a packet of information about the department including the proposed curricula prior to the meeting. A group of faculty presented information about departmental facilities, faculty, academic opportunities and practical experiences and accomplishments. The previous survey results and proposed curricula were reviewed. A professional facilitator, using a moderator's guide prepared by faculty members, led each focus group discussion. Tapes from each discussion were transcribed and summarized. Original transcriptions and executive summaries were distributed to focus group participants and faculty. Suggestions from focus group participants were incorporated into the final curriculum. Problems associated with the focus group technique include a reluctance of faculty to accept outside opinions, a reluctance to publicly air departmental concerns, and the cost associated with a professional facilitator and rented facilities. However, the focus group technique provided significant feedback in a short period of time and helped build liaisons with industry constituents by including them in the process. Several focus group participants will be invited to join an advisory council for the department.

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Karen Stoelzle Midden, Paul Henry, and Amy Boren

Online courses are easily accessible and have the potential to attract and recruit a diversity of students. The instructors [also the principal investigators (PIs)] of an online certificate program in landscape horticulture have completed the first of a 3-year project in an effort to provide landscape horticulture courses, including an option for a certificate, to traditional and nontraditional students. The certification, consisting of 20 credit hours, will be the first of its type in Illinois offered by an institution of higher education. The program is aimed toward traditional college students who may need additional college credit, and nontraditional students who are pursuing certification out of interest in career goals or needing continuing education. The Chicago Botanic Garden, a cooperator in this project, has been a driving force for creation of this program and feels that there is a substantial demand among its clientele. It is being funded by the SIUC Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor Distance Learning Grant. Year one of this project focused on review and revision of curriculum material of six existing courses taught by the PIs. The PIs are working closely with the university's instructional support for the courses to be delivered by WebCT. To date, the “Appreciation of Landscape Design” course has received the most emphasis in the conversion. This poster session will summarize the project to date and projected benefits of this online program.

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Jeffrey Norrie, Chantal J. Beauchamp, and André Gosselin

Residues and by-products resulting from papermaking and recycling are receiving increased attention as beneficial soil amendments. Our research examines de-inked and primary paper sludge as a principal constituent of several substrate mixtures used as soil amendments in landscape horticulture. Three factors will be examined in a strip-split-plot design with four replications: substrate mixture (with organic soil and sand), fertilizer level, and plant species. Several paper sludge–organic soil–sand mixtures (maximum 50% sludge) were compared to an organic soil–sand control. A 15-cm layer of each mixture was incorporated into existing soil to a depth of 30 cm. Species of Spiraea, Physpcarpus, and Thuja were grown in addition to Kentucky bluegrass (seed and sod) and ryegrass (seed). Growth, rooting, and plant nutrition (foliar analysis) were examined. Preliminary results indicate poor ground cover and N deficiency in plants grown in all unfertilized plots. For sod and seeded grasses, control plots were slightly more healthy than sludge-amended plots, which was likely due to a greater concentration of available N from the organic soil. The bush species exibited similar responses. We conclude that a base fertilization is needed to decrease the C: N ratio of these substrates to ≈20 to 30 for sustained plant growth regardless of sludge amendments. Toxicity effects were due to the presence of organic contaminants, heavy metals, or both.

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Mary Lewnes Albrecht

Pi Alpha Xi, founded in 1923, is the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. Since its founding, it has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants.

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Bruno C. Moser

Information on the Internet relative to the landscape and nursery industries is rapidly expanding. However, finding reliable sites on subjects of interest to the field of commercial landscape horticulture is a difficult task. PLANT: Purdue Landscape and Nursery Thesaurus, is an extensive database of links to Internet information for professional landscape contractors/managers and nursery growers in Midwest and Northeast states. PLANT currently consists of 21 independent pages on topics from “Computer Software” to “Winter Hardiness”, with >2500 links to appropriate Internet information. A search mode allows one to search the database by key words as well. This extension-based tool is also an excellent resource for class assignments in the area of ornamentals and landscape horticulture. As a work in process, PLANT is regularly updated and expanded to provide multiple sources if Internet information on topics of interest to the landscape and nursery industries. PLANT can be found at bluestem.hort.purdue.edu/plant/.

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Daniel Voltz and Allen Zimmerman

The personalities in a population of landscape horticulture graduates at a 2-year technical college were found to be similar to those in a population of landscape company managers. However, the personalities of the landscape company managers do differ from those in a general population of college students in terms of their information acquisition, decision making, and lifestyle preferences. The typical landscape company manager in the population surveyed was found to be a 41-year-old male with a bachelors degree. This individual had been employed in the occupation for 20 years, worked ≥41 hours per week, and rated job satisfaction as high.

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Ann Marie VanDerZanden and David R. Sandrock

Horticulture graduates entering the landscape industry will be faced with a multitude of complicated management decisions where they will need to integrate their understanding of plant science, site constraints, state and federal environmental regulations, and the human impact on the built landscape. To help students develop and refine their problem-solving skills, an interactive online case study was created. The case study was used in two different landscape horticulture courses at Iowa State University and Oregon State University. The case study centers on a residential backyard with eight landscape problem scenarios. Each scenario is identified on the clickable landscape map of the area and contains links to audio files, PDF documents, images, and Internet links. After investigating each scenario, students submit an analysis, diagnosis, and recommendation about the landscape problem via WebCT or Blackboard, depending on the institution. Student evaluation of the case study as a teaching tool was positive (3.5, where 1 = poor; 5 = excellent). Students answered additional questions using a scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree. As a result of using this teaching tool, students felt that they were able to summarize the data (3.9), diagnose the landscape problem (3.9), and make a recommendation to the homeowner (3.6). Further, they felt this teaching tool was an effective way to deliver information (3.9); the interactive format aided their learning (3.7); that they were comfortable using a web-based format (4.2); and they liked learning using case studies (4.1). Our goal is to make the case-study framework available to other teaching colleagues who can then add their own data.

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Rolston St. Hilaire and James M. Thompson

Strong linkages among 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities are likely to foster the transition of more students into higher education and enhance student diversity. Two New Mexico educational institutions, Doña Ana Branch Community College (a 2-year community college) and New Mexico State University (a 4-year university), offered a landscape construction class as a joint course offering for students at both institutions. The objective of this educational approach was to develop a system that facilitates the seamless integration of compatible curricula from a community college and a university. Course evaluations showed that 63% of students enrolled in the combined class rated the combining of a university and community college class as an above average or excellent model of education. When asked to rate whether classroom materials and laboratory activities supported learning, 94% of the class rated those materials as excellent. Eighty-eight percent of students rated the presentation of subject matter as above average or excellent when asked if the subject matter was presented in an interesting manner. Students valued the experiential learning projects and would highly recommend the course to their peers. In this redesigned course, women and minorities constituted 63% of the class, suggesting that this educational approach has the potential to retain a large number of underrepresented groups in landscape horticulture. We conclude that this collaborative approach for teaching landscape horticulture is likely to enhance horticultural education and foster a seamless educational experience for students who transition from a community college to a university. Also, this educational approach could serve as a model for curricula that combine practical knowledge with advances in science and technology.

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Rolston St. Hilaire and James M. Thompson

Strong linkages among 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities are likely to foster the transition of more students into higher education and enhance student diversity. Two New Mexico educational institutions, Doña Ana Branch Community College (a 2-year community college) and New Mexico State University (a 4-year university), offered a landscape construction class as a joint course offering for students at both institutions. The objective of this educational approach was to develop a system that facilitates the seamless integration of compatible curricula from a community college and a university. Course evaluations showed that 63% of students enrolled in the combined class rated the combining of a university and community college class as an above average or excellent model of education. When asked to rate whether classroom materials and laboratory activities supported learning, 94% of the class rated those materials as excellent. Eighty-eight percent of students rated the presentation of subject matter as above average or excellent when asked if the subject matter was presented in an interesting manner. Students valued the experiential learning projects and would highly recommend the course to their peers. In this redesigned course, women and minorities constituted 63% of the class, suggesting that this educational approach has the potential to retain a large number of underrepresented groups in landscape horticulture. We conclude that this collaborative approach for teaching landscape horticulture is likely to enhance horticultural education and foster a seamless educational experience for students who transition from a community college to a university. Also, this educational approach could serve as a model for curricula that combine practical knowledge with advances in science and technology.

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J. David Williams, D. Joseph Eakes, and Harry G. Ponder

Strong academic abilities and practical work experience are important to employers of horticulture graduates. In greatest demand are students with competent personal and leadership abilities and technical skills. Increased class size and increased university core curriculum requirements hinder our capacity to develop these added skills within our curriculum. However, through extracurricular offerings we can offer students ways to develop skills that are not fully expressed in the academic arena. Student interaction in the traditional horticulture club requires practicing interpersonal relation and often conflict resolution skills. Students learn to work as a team to accomplish goals that they have set for themselves as a group. The Associate¥ Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) Student Career Days experience offers a highly effective means for reinforcing cognitive skills gained in the classroom and laboratory, as well as supplementing academic learning opportunities with technical activities beyond those offered in the curriculum.