Today’s soil science graduates need to be adept problem solvers, use interdisciplinary approaches and be technically proficient. This is because modern approaches to solving key problems in agriculture and the environment come from a broad section of the community, including scientists, government agents, environmental groups, producers and consumers. Work by Field et al
., 2011 and Jarvis et al
., 2012, where they surveyed academics, graduates and industry stakeholders, have reported on the need for graduates with good soil science knowledge, who can problem solve and provide contextual solutions and be able to communicate this clearly. While this requires a holistic approach to teaching with greater synergy between students, educators and industry, the modern challenge for soil science education is to service this while still providing students with a good grounding in existing soil science knowledge. To address this challenge we took a Delphi study approach (Reeves et al
., 1978) as part of a project to develop a National Curriculum for Soil Science in Australia, and this resulted in the drafting of a Soil Science Core Body of Knowledge (SSCBoK). It is expected that this core knowledge will be endorsed by professional soil science bodies and contributes to accreditation procedures, as well as, be relevant to the community who need good soil science knowledge. The immediate task is developing a framework to manage an agreed core body of knowledge that can also respond and evolve to meet the changing needs of society into the future.
Field, D. J., Koppi, A. J., Larrett L. E., Abbott L K., Cattle S R., Grant A D., McBratney A B., Menzies N. W., Weatherly A J., 2011. Soil Science Teaching Principles. Geoderma 167-168, 9-14.
Jarvis H. D., Collett R., Wingenbach G., Heilman J L., Fowler D. 2012. Developing a Foundation for Constructing Curricula in Soil, Crop, and Turfgrass Sciences. Journal of Natural Reource s & Life Sciences Education. 41, 7-14
Reeves G., & Jauch L. R. 1978. Currciculum development through Delphi. Research in Higher Education. 8, 157-168