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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Undergraduate Education

Developing a Foundation for Constructing New Curricula in Soil, Crop, and Turfgrass Sciences


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 41 No. 1, p. 7-14
    Received: Apr 25, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): hollydjarvis@tamu.edu
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  1. Holly D. Jarvis *a,
  2. Ryan Colletta,
  3. Gary Wingenbacha,
  4. James L. Heilmanb and
  5. Debra Fowlerc
  1. a Dep. of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, A&M Univ., 2116 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2116
    b Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M Univ., 2474 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2474
    c Center for Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M Univ., 4246 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4246


Some soil and crop science university programs undergo curricula revision to maintain relevancy with their profession and/or to attract the best students to such programs. The Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University completed a thorough data gathering process as part of its revision of the undergraduate curriculum and degree programs in 2010. The purpose of this study was to determine the scientific and technical knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by graduates for career success in 2015 and beyond. Data were collected from three expert panels (soils, crops, and turfgrass) using the Delphi method. Scientific and technical knowledge, skills, and abilities in water-related issues were indicated as a necessary curriculum item by all three panels. Soil science experts indicated that water studies should focus on movement of water in soils and the contribution of soils to water quality, whereas crop and turfgrass experts emphasized the management of water as a resource. Both the soil and crop panels specified a need for study in data collection and analysis, problem solving, and using scientific reasoning. Turfgrass experts emphasized the need for students to learn business principles and compliance with external regulations. All three groups designated the importance of including soft skills, such as communicating effectively, working collaboratively, and personal and social responsibility, as important curriculum components for students’ career success. These data will serve as the foundation for constructing new curricula and potentially new degree programs in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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