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Warnock 2008 Faculty Retreat PosterPDF


Title:Using Poinsettia Cultivar Trials to Fulfill the University's Teaching Mission: Experiential Student Learning Through an Open House Project
Author(s):Warnock, Daniel F.
Experiential Learning
Abstract:While undergraduate horticulture students are well versed in theoretical and applied skills, many lack necessary management and decision making skills upon graduation to prosper in agribusinesses. Deficiencies in student ability to identify agribusiness problems, develop workable solutions based on available information, and defend choices become challenging in real world situations. Experiential learning activities provide opportunities to blend “hands on” teaching with theoretical knowledge. The use of community outreach events such as classroom teaching tools provides a tremendous opportunity to developing critical thinking skills. In 2006, students in the Greenhouse Management and Production Class at the University of Illinois were presented with the challenge of producing poinsettias and conducting a community outreach event. Student teams were responsible for the production of the crop, marketing, coordination, and implementation of a two-day poinsettia open house attended by more than 250 people as part of the Mid-American Poinsettia Trials. Weekly business meetings fostered team communication and developed a consensus for the event’s implementation and timing. Student perceptions of this project were received in two forms; weekly business meeting comments and formal surveys. Initial apprehension about the project turned to enthusiasm as the semester progressed. Team building occurred. Student survey comments indicated that “the discovery experience was critical for this class” and the instructor’s ability to “challenge students and yet treat them as colleagues was appreciated.” As faculty members, we have a vested interest in assisting our students to become independent, free thinking leaders of the horticulture industry. The use of community outreach events is one avenue of experiential learning that can be effectively utilized in undergraduate curricula.
Issue Date:2007
Publisher:The American Society for Horticultural Science
Citation Info:HortScience 42:1017
Genre:Conference Poster
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-05-03

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