Two Examples Where Developing Professional Relationships in the Local "Community" Made a Positive Difference for Agricultural Education

Article excerpt

The basic core for the success of agricultural education programs over the years has been its reliance on the three intra-curricula components model. We have known these components traditionally as: 1) classroom/laboratory instruction 2) experiential learning through supervised agricultural experiences (SAE) and 3) leadership activities and training centered around the FFA. When these three components are combined with a well defined, integrated and organized plan for community engagement and support, existing agricultural programs become even stronger and more effective. Local school systems and various other educational agencies not currently providing an agricultural education experience for students are more likely to consider the importance and relevance of doing so. Two examples of this in the "community" of Eastern North Carolina, a rural region of North Carolina consisting of thirty-one counties located in the Coastal Plains area are: 1) a Bachelor of Science offering in Agriscience Education at Mount Olive College and 2) the establishment of the Bertie County Early College/ Agriscience High School.

The idea for Mount Olive College to provide a Bachelor of Science in Agriscience Education began with a series of negotiations and meetings between Dr. Don Scott, who, at that time was the Director of the Mount Olive College Agribusiness Center, Dr. Barbara Kornegay, Vice President of Enrollment at Mount Olive College and other Mount Olive College officials. Their intent was to initiate a strategy for the Mount Olive College "community" and the Agricultural Education program to work together in a partnership that would benefit both programs and institutions. During these discussions it was noted that neither of the four year institutions in the state currently offering agricultural education programs were producing enough students to fill the demand for agriculture teachers in North Carolina. It was Dr. Scott's belief that a four year Agri-science program at Mount Olive College might be a good compliment to the already existing agribusiness program that was housed there. Later meetings also included Dr. Phil Hamilton and Dr. Sandy Maddox from Mount Olive College and various representatives from the Department of Agricultural & Extension Education at NC State. These meetings resulted in a proposal for a 3 plus 1 partnership agreement between Mount Olive College and North Carolina State University to establish the four year Agriscience Education program. Under the partnership agreement, students who enter the Agriscience Education program at Mount Olive College will receive their first three years of instruction at Mount Olive. They will then receive their final year of training, which includes their student teaching, with the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at NC State. The students will receive a Mount Olive College diploma and recommendation for licensure from NC State. The partnership agreement has been finalized and the first students were accepted into the program during the 2007-08 academic year. Discussions are now underway to see if a similar partnership can be developed between Mount Olive College and North Carolina A & T State University.

The establishment of the Bertie County Early College/Agriscience High School began while meeting with Bertie County School Superintendent Chip Zullinger. …