University education for multiple-goal agriculture in Australia

Pearson, C. J and Ison, R. L. (1992). University education for multiple-goal agriculture in Australia. Agricultural Systems, 38(4) pp. 341–362.



A viewpoint is given which advocates a questioning of the purpose of agricultural education (‘what qualities do we want our graduates to have?’), greater client orientation and project-based learning. The changing definition of agriculture to embrace a systems perspective and two emerging issues (sustainability and concern with human goals) are discussed. It is suggested that debate on the goals and processes of agricultural education and on the nature of agriculture itself should give rise to changes in university teaching and learning. Such changes will best be achieved, and ongoing education will most effectively address emerging issues in agriculture, if there is rationalisation of institutions to one faculty within each Australian state or perhaps two faculties in New South Wales. We might also plan towards placing agricultural faculties, department of agriculture and CSIRO in close proximity within each state. These views contrast with an image of tertiary agricultural education in Australia as having predominantly rather narrow, technically based curricula and small fragmented faculties. The authors' viewpoint arises from two residential workshops involving staff of the School of Crop Sciences in 1988 and 1989, and travel in Asia, Europe and North America in 1989–;90.

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