Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Preparing Agricultural Educators for Global Competitiveness

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Preparing Agricultural Educators for Global Competitiveness

Article excerpt

Nine billion people on earth by 2050 and less land and fewer resources to feed and clothe the world's population! How will we meet this challenge? According to the last two USDA/Purdue University studies (http://www.ag.purdue.edu/USDA/ employment/Pages/default.aspx) on agriculture employment opportunities for college graduates, there is a growing gap between the numbers of agriculture college and university graduates and the opportunities for employment in the agriculture, food and natural resources industries. How will we feed and clothe the world tomorrow if we do not prepare people today in the science, business and technology of agriculture by increasing the numbers of people preparing for these careers.

This is a daunting and challenging problem; however there are answers for agricultural educators and there are ways to be part of the solution.

One of the keys will be 'keeping up-to-date through professional development' as the theme of this issue suggests. After all, we expect our medical professionals, pilots and auto mechanics, as examples, to stay up to date on new technologies and practices by renewing licenses and certifications. It is only reasonable to expect our agricultural education professionals (those who teach young and adult minds to research, produce, and/or market food and fiber products) to stay up-to-date and not rely on what was taught at the university 10, 15, 25 or 30+ years ago. We must expect educators to stay current with education and industry technology and learn the latest practices, gain additional certifications and/or licenses as appropriate.

The articles in this issue reflect the insight, experiences and knowledge of beginning and veteran agricultural educators at secondary, two-year and four-year institutions, as well as state and national leaders who have helped establish valuable professional development for our profession. You will read about the Power of Professional Development from a first year teacher who made the most of state and national opportunities with CASE and NAAE's regional conferences. You will also read about the importance of making the most of professional development conferences before you leave home, while at the conference, and when you get back home through the article Unpacking Professional Development. The article Professional Development for Change suggests that the best experiences provide improved teaching practices and suggests connecting with a network of colleagues for follow-up after the conference/workshop. …

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