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AGRONOMIC EDUCATION AT A CROSSROAD: PROVIDING SKILL SETS OR DEVELOPING MINDSETS?

Charatsari, Chrysanthi ; Jönsson, Håkan LU ; Krystallidou, Evdokia and Lymberopoulos, Aristotelis (2020) p.1-17
Abstract
Globally, agrifoodsystems are in constant evolution. In such a context, agronomists have the critical task to act as change agents, enabling agricultural innovation and facilitating the transition towards sustainability. Hence, agronomists should develop a new professional mindset that goes beyond the prescribed roles and fixed duties of a bounded professional. However, it is questionable whether the curricula offered by agronomic education institutes are really targeted at the development of such mindsets. In this study, employing a two-phase mixed research design and drawing on data from 180 agronomy students, we aim at identifying whether the curricula offered to future agronomists by a... (More)
Globally, agrifoodsystems are in constant evolution. In such a context, agronomists have the critical task to act as change agents, enabling agricultural innovation and facilitating the transition towards sustainability. Hence, agronomists should develop a new professional mindset that goes beyond the prescribed roles and fixed duties of a bounded professional. However, it is questionable whether the curricula offered by agronomic education institutes are really targeted at the development of such mindsets. In this study, employing a two-phase mixed research design and drawing on data from 180 agronomy students, we aim at identifying whether the curricula offered to future agronomists by a Greek higher education institute pave the way for the development of new professional mindsets. Our quantitative analysis revealed that agronomy curricula continue to supply students with conventional skill portfolios, and that, to nurture a professional mindset they should focus on the cultivation of soft competencies and the offering of action-based learning opportunities. Qualitative results further support these findings, uncovering that the limited focus paid by curricula to the development of students’ soft skills and systemic thinking reduces their feelings of self-efficacy. In parallel, the lack of links connecting academia and agrifood systems generates a sense of isolation from the real agrifood world, which eliminates students’ opportunities to test and validate their theoretical knowledge. These findings indicate that agronomy curricula should go beyond the supply of ready-to-use skill sets, by providing students with opportunities to combine theoretical and practical knowledge, and by helping them develop a new professional identity which emphasizes adaptability and cross-boundarythinking. (Less)
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; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
pages
17 pages
project
Educating the next generation of professionals in the agrifood system
language
English
LU publication?
yes
additional info
This paper was originally written as a contribution to the 14th European Farming Systems Conference 10 to 16 July 2020 (postponed to March 28 – April 1, 2021), Évora, Portugal
id
72fbc5b3-e2fc-4865-9995-225487dbb30b
date added to LUP
2020-09-27 14:08:48
date last changed
2020-12-01 12:44:24
@misc{72fbc5b3-e2fc-4865-9995-225487dbb30b,
  abstract     = {Globally, agrifoodsystems are in constant evolution. In such a context, agronomists have the critical task to act as change agents, enabling agricultural innovation and facilitating the   transition  towards  sustainability.   Hence,   agronomists   should  develop   a  new professional mindset  that  goes  beyond  the  prescribed  roles  and  fixed  duties  of  a bounded  professional.  However,  it  is  questionable  whether  the  curricula  offered  by agronomic education institutes are really targeted at the development of such mindsets. In this study, employing a two-phase mixed research design and drawing on data from 180  agronomy  students,  we  aim  at  identifying  whether  the  curricula  offered  to  future agronomists by a Greek higher education institute pave the way for the development of new professional mindsets. Our quantitative analysis revealed that agronomy curricula continue  to  supply  students  with  conventional  skill  portfolios,  and  that,  to  nurture  a professional mindset they should focus on the cultivation of soft competencies and the offering of action-based learning opportunities. Qualitative results further support these findings,  uncovering  that  the  limited  focus  paid  by  curricula  to  the  development  of students’  soft  skills  and  systemic  thinking  reduces  their  feelings  of  self-efficacy.  In parallel, the lack of links connecting academia and agrifood systems generates a sense of isolation from the real agrifood world, which eliminates students’ opportunities to test and validate their theoretical knowledge. These findings indicate that agronomy curricula should  go  beyond  the  supply  of  ready-to-use  skill  sets,  by  providing  students  with opportunities  to  combine  theoretical  and  practical  knowledge,  and  by  helping  them develop a new professional identity which emphasizes adaptability and cross-boundarythinking.},
  author       = {Charatsari, Chrysanthi and Jönsson, Håkan and Krystallidou, Evdokia and Lymberopoulos, Aristotelis},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  pages        = {1--17},
  title        = {AGRONOMIC EDUCATION AT A CROSSROAD: PROVIDING SKILL SETS OR DEVELOPING MINDSETS?},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/84225307/Charatsari_et_al_AGRONOMIC_EDUCATION_AT_A_CROSSROAD.pdf},
  year         = {2020},
}