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David Warfield and Dermot P. Coyne

Abstract

Transplanting is an ancient horticultural practice, which is a good thing because our profession is in need of a transplant—an attitude transplant! I was both encouraged and discouraged as I read Dermot P. Coyne's Presidential Address in the Oct. 1985 issue of HortScience 20:805–808. Encouraged, because he raised points that we need to address; discouraged, because he missed the starting point. Allow me to paraphrase an old saying: “Big grad students from little undergrads grow“. Let me lay it out in the open: I was shocked that our President finds no role for undergraduate education in tackling world hunger. I disagree!

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Suman Singha and Harry O. Kunkel

Changes in the environment, in technology, and in societal needs will result in a change in the expectations from our graduates. Meeting these expectations will require a systemic change in undergraduate education in horticulture. While we do an excellent job in training students, we are not as effective in educating them. Our students must develop critical thinking skills and become adept at solving problems utilizing a multidisciplinary integrated approach rather than in a reductive manner. Achieving these skills is essential if our graduates are to be successful in the rapidly changing job market. Implementing curricular change requires faculty ownership as well as administrative support and an appropriate rewards and recognition system. These and other principles from the USDA-funded project on Theoretical Bases for Systemic Change in Higher Education in Agriculture will be discussed.

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Michael R. Evans, Todd J. Cavins, Jeff S. Kuehny, Richard L. Harkess, and Greer R. Lane

Economics and logistics have greatly reduced or eliminated the ability of horticulture instructors to use field trips or on-site visits as educational tools. This is especially problematic in the field of greenhouse management and controlled environment agriculture, since the facilities and technologies used are essential to the discipline. To address this problem, we developed 15 DVD-based virtual field trips (VFT's) that instructors may use to demonstrate to students the most up-to-date facilities, technologies, and management strategies used in greenhouse management (ornamental and food crops) and controlled environment agriculture (GCEA). Each VFT included a preface with background information about the company, a tour organized by subject chapters, self-examination, and a teacher's guide with additional information and case studies. Each land-grant institution with an instructional program in greenhouse management of controlled-environment agriculture will be provided a free copy of each VFT, which will benefit all instructors of GCEA in the United States.

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Donald N. Maynard and Everett R. Emino

Abstract

Undergraduate interest in courses and curriculum in the agricultural sciences, including horticulture and plant and soil sciences (1), is at an all time high. Enrollment in agriculture in member institutions of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges more than doubled from 1963 to 19743. This paper describes changes that have been made in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Massachusetts to serve our students and provides a vehicle for future changes in undergraduate horticultural education. Hopefully, other departments will report on their undergraduate activities so that others may benefit from their experience.

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Taryn L. Bauerle and Travis D. Park

experiences is then transformed through observation and reflection to give rise to generalizations about phenomena, as well as to develop abstract conceptualizations about future events or experiences. New shifts in undergraduate education favor implementation

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Matthew S. Wilson, Chad T. Miller, and Nicholas R. Bloedow

Virtual plant walk maps were developed for an ornamental plant identification (ID) course, with the goal of providing an additional study resource to potentially enhance student learning. The maps provided students an opportunity to revisit plants covered in lecture and laboratory sections at their own convenience, using either a computer or mobile device. Each map plotted the locations of the plants from the corresponding list and provided photographs of specimens, plant family, common and scientific names, and plant type information. At the end of the course, a survey was given to collect information about student use and perceptions of the virtual plant walk maps for two fall semesters (n = 87). Survey results indicated 63% of the students used the virtual plant walk maps as a study resource. Students who used the maps reported accessing the maps an average of 3.2 times between receiving the maps and taking the plant ID quiz in laboratory. Students mainly used the maps to study the most current plant list and accessed previous plant list maps to a lesser extent. About 67% of students who used the virtual maps, used the maps to visually review the plants online only, although 31% of students used the maps for both visual review and to physically retrace the plant walk to view the live specimens. Of the students who did not use the maps, most found other study resources/methods more useful or they forgot about the maps as a resource. When asked to rate usefulness of the maps on a scale from slightly useful (1) to very useful (3), 43% of students indicated that the virtual maps study tool was very useful, 25% indicated the maps were useful, and 8% indicated that the maps were slightly useful. A significant dependence between student use frequency and student usefulness ratings of virtual plant walk maps was observed. As students’ use of the virtual maps increased, they perceived the maps to be more useful to their studies in preparing for ID quizzes. No differences between plant ID quiz scores were associated with virtual plant walk map use, learning style, or use by learning style. Our survey indicated that students used the virtual plant walk maps as a resource and perceived the maps as a useful tool in preparation for ID quizzes.

Open access

Garry V. McDonald and Wayne A. Mackay

The University of Arkansas Horticulture Department was charged in 2016 by university administration to develop and implement a student learning outcome (SLO)-based assessment plan. The Horticulture Department curriculum committee was tasked to develop such a plan. Various models were considered, but ultimately a modified plan based on the work of M.P. Pritts and T. Park was adopted. Adjustments were based on student population size and particular requirements that had to be integrated with the university-mandated SLO goals and objectives. Two phases of a student’s academic career were chosen to access: an incoming freshman or transfer phase and a late-term or degree completion phase. Specific learning outcomes and goals were identified as well as courses and activities that would reasonably be measured while meeting university requirements. Data collection on entering freshmen and transfer students started in Fall 2018. The full impact of the implemented plan will not be known until 2020, when the first full cohort of incoming freshmen reaches the terminal stage of the degree program.

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Matthew S. Wilson and Chad T. Miller

Virtual plant maps were developed using a web-application for plant identification courses with the goal of providing an additional study resource to students. Each map plots the plants covered for the given weekly plant list, providing photographs of specimens, correct nomenclature, along with additional identification and cultural information. The virtual plant maps provide students an opportunity to review and revisit plants covered in lecture and laboratory sections on their own and at their convenience. An additional advantage of the virtual plant maps is that they can be easily created using a free web-application via any Internet browser, without the need for rigorous understanding of software and webpage design.

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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.