283-3 Student Perceptions and Experiences in the Soil and Water Science Program At University of Florida.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Soil Science Education Trends for the 21st Century: I
Tuesday, October 23, 2012: 9:20 AM
Hyatt Regency, Regency Ballroom G, Third Floor
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Jared Sweat1, Mary E. Collins2, James Bonczek1 and R. Kirby Barrick3, (1)Soil and Water Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
(2)Soil and Water Science, University of Florida, Elkader, IA
(3)Agriculture Education and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Soil science education has been at the forethought of soil science educators’ minds within the past decade (Baveye, 2006; Baveye et al., 2006; Lal, 2007; Hopmans, 2007; Hansen et al., 2007; Collins, 2008; Havlin et al., 2010). Each of the studies focused on different aspects (i.e. decline enrollment, identity in public awareness, and curriculum revision) of soil science education. Rare, are articles that show how well soil science programs incorporate revisions, like curriculum modifications (Taskey, 1994). Also, very few studies are focused on the perceptions and experiences of the students in soil science majors. Therefore, the objectives of this paper are to (i) describe personal experiences which have affected the presenting author’s educational and professional decisions in his pre-UF years; (ii) relate the experiences the presenting author encountered during his years as an undergraduate and graduate student in the Soil and Water Science Department; (iii) discuss the results and perceptions of the survey distributed to alumni, undergraduate, and graduate students; and (iv) compare the presenting author’s experiences to survey respondents as well as the other authors cited. Four major conclusions from the results of our survey indicated that students felt the program should offer real-life applications in the courses, our graduate student population comes from diverse educational backgrounds, interaction with departmental faculty and courses offered the greatest assets in interest for the major, and social gatherings are needed for the students to feel a sense of belonging to the program.
See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Soil Science Education Trends for the 21st Century: I