• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Advertising
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Needs and driving forces
 Curriculum
 Key considerations
 In summary
 Back Matter






Group Title: Teaching and Learning Paper Series - University of Florida. Food and Resource Economics Dept. ; TLP 00-9
Title: Life long learning for the 21st century food system
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053100/00001
 Material Information
Title: Life long learning for the 21st century food system will Colleges of Agriculture respond?
Series Title: Teaching and learning paper series
Alternate Title: Will Colleges of Agriculture respond
Physical Description: 2, 17 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Willett, Lois Schertz
University of Florida -- Food and Resource Economics Dept
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Dept., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 2000
 Subjects
Subject: Distance education   ( lcsh )
Agricultural colleges -- Curricula   ( lcsh )
Food industry and trade -- Management -- Training of   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Study and teaching   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
legal article   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 17).
Statement of Responsibility: by Lois Schertz Willett.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "September 2000."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053100
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 003416630
oclc - 45469249

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Advertising
        Page i
        Page ii
    Abstract
        Page iii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Needs and driving forces
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Curriculum
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Key considerations
        Page 13
        Page 14
    In summary
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Back Matter
        Page 17
Full Text


TLP 00-9
FEB 0 6 2001

aS'ro SCIENCE LIBRARY
TEACHING AND LEARNING PAPER SERIES


LIFE LONG LEARNING FOR THE 21st CENTURY FOOD
SYSTEM-WILL COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE RESPOND?


by
Lois Schertz Willett


Teaching and Learning Paper TLP 00-9


September 2000


The goal of the Teaching and Learning paper Series is to improve, enhance, and enrich
the teaching and learning environment in the department, college, university, and
profession through the publication of papers on teaching philosophies and techniques,
curricular issues, and case studies Papers are circulated without formal review by the
Food and Resource Economics Department and thus the content is the sole
responsibility of the faculty author or co-author.








S UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Food and Resource Economics Department
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL




'-S


TEACHING AND LEARNING PAPER SERIES
FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT


Author


Date


TLP 99-1


TLP 99-2


TLP 99-3




TLP 99-4


Gary F. Fairchild


Gary F. Fairchild


Aaron Troyer
Gary Fairchild
Richard Weldon
P.J. van Blokland

Pavan Her
Allen Wysocki
Gary Fairchild
Patrick J. Byrne


An Introduction to the Teaching and Learning
Paper Series

Engaging Learners In Economic and Management
Education: A Challenge To Our Profession

Perspectives On Precision Agriculture: A Case
Study of the mPower3 Company



Perspectives In Human Resource Management: A
Case Study of An Incentive Program At Tyson
Foods, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida


Opportunities and Challenges in Statelite Campus
Agribusiness Management Education

Florida's Natural Growers: A Decision Case


Russell Porvisions, Distributor of Boar's Head
Deli Meat and Cheese: A Dicision Case

TRACER: A New Market Challenge: A Case
Study of a Marketing Plan for Dow Agro Sciences



Management and Advancement In A Theme-Based
Restaurant: A Case Study of the Ale House



Procedures For Peer Evaluation of Teaching In the
Food and Resource Economics Department


A Beginner's Guide To Understanding Mutual
Funds

A Business Analysis of Therapeutic Botanicals
Incorporated


Title


Ferdinand F. Wirth
Suzanne D. Thomsbury

Benjamin Brown
Allen Wysocki

Meagan Langford
Allen Wysocki

Cara Martin
Patrick Byme
Richard Wledon
Ken Buhr

Norman S. Baer
P.J. van Blokland
Gary F. Fairchild
John E. Reynolds

Gary F. Fairchild
John E. Reynolds
Tracy S. Hoover

Eric Garneff
P.J. van Blokland

Ronald Pearl
Gary F. Fairchild
Timothy G. Taylor


TLP 99-5


TLP 99-6


TLP 99-7


TLP 00-1




TLP 00-2




TLP 00-3



TLP 00-4


TLP 00-5


December
1999

December
1999

December
1999



December
1999


December
1999

December
1999

December
1999

January
2000



January
2000



April
2000


April
2000

August
2000











No. Title


Strategic Analysis of a Small Firm Competing in
the European Mango Market

A Strategic Business Analysis of Pike Family
Nurseries



Using Business Simulations and Issue Debates to
Facilitate Synthesis in Agribusiness Capstone
Courses


Raquel Guzman
Gary F. Fairchild

Gerado Sol
Gary F. Fairchild
Allen Wysocki
Karl Kepner

Gary F. Fairchild
Timothy G. Taylor


TLP 00-6


TLP 00-7


Author


Date


TLP 00-8


August
2000

August
2000



August
2000
















LIFE LONG LEARNING FOR THE 21st CENTURY FOOD SYSTEM -


WILL COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE RESPOND?



by



Lois Schertz Willett*


Abstract: This essay presents a vision of the learning opportunities in agricultural and
managerial economics that Colleges of Agriculture could offer to meet the food system's life
long learning needs of the 21st century. The paper discusses what kind of curriculum will meet
these needs, how it will be delivered, where and when it will be offered, and by whom. Key
considerations in achieving this vision are detailed.




Key Words: teaching, learning, distance education, food system, agricultural economics











*Lois Schertz Willett is Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Florida. This
essay was submitted to the American Agricultural Economics Association's Essay for the 21st
Century Competition in September 2000. She thanks Bernie Erven, Carol Fountain, John
Gordon, Burl Long and Lyle Schertz for helpful suggestions.










LIFE LONG LEARNING FOR THE 21st CENTURY FOOD SYSTEM -

WILL COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE RESPOND?



"... Where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical

studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to

agriculture and the mechanic arts..." This mission, established by the Morrill Act of 1862,

guided the creation of the land grant university system and their Colleges of Agriculture so that

they would be institutes of higher education for everyone. Since the late 1800s, Colleges of

Agriculture have focused on the development of the agricultural sciences as a means of

improving production technologies and transferring this knowledge to producers. They have

been concerned with the social, economic, and institutional problems of rural communities and

the environment in which we live. They have engaged in the transfer of this knowledge to farm

producers and embraced academic programs focused on agricultural as well as non-agricultural

fields. Colleges of Agriculture have provided training for people in agriculture so they could

contribute to agricultural activities as well as transfer from agriculture to productive non-

agricultural activities.

You may have received your education from a College of Agriculture in this land grant

university system. You attended your animal science and farm management classes in a large

lecture hall, took notes, studied in your dorm room or the library, submitted projects on paper,

and took tests with paper and pencil. You had your questions answered by professors after

lecture or during their office hours.

Fast forward. It is the year 2045. You are a Hispanic, 35 year old mother of 2 working











in Miami as an economic analyst for the largest citrus production and processing operation in the

world. You recognize that your skills, enhanced by continued education in the communication,

technological, analytical, and management fields, are critical to your advancement in a food

system rapidly changing to meet the needs of savvy consumers. You enroll in Agribusiness

Management from the University of Florida and Econometrics from Cornell. You obtain your

training in markets from the University of California, Davis. You receive materials via video

conferencing, the World Wide Web, or a technology not yet available in the year 2000. You do

not sit in a lecture hall; you do not visit your professors in their offices. Rather, you tap into

teaching and learning modules via your computer and receive faculty assistance through this

medium as well. You are on the road to mastering new knowledge and gaining new skills that

would be impossible for you to obtain if the Colleges of Agriculture continued to insist that you

be in residence on their campuses to take courses.

Clearly, as we enter the millennium, there is an opportunity for the land grant Colleges of

Agriculture to respond to the agricultural and managerial economics life long learning needs of

this woman and other individuals in the food system. The issue is, will they? This essay

presents a vision of the learning opportunities in agricultural and managerial economics that

Colleges of Agriculture could offer to meet the food system's life long learning needs of the 21st

century. First, the paper assesses the food system's changing life long learning needs in

agricultural and managerial economics and the driving forces behind these changes. Second, the

paper discusses what kind of curriculum will meet these needs, how it will be delivered, where

and when it will be offered, and by whom. Finally, key considerations in achieving this vision

are detailed.










Needs and Driving Forces

As today's food system evolved in the 20th century, it became increasingly imperative for

individuals working in the system to have a broad-based understanding of the biological,

physical, mathematical, and social sciences and humanities. Skills in oral and written

communication were important in order to articulate visions, goals, and accomplishments in team

activities, presentations to Boards of Directors, business plans, and position papers. Skills in

human relations, leadership, and employee motivation were increasingly recognized as

important. Then, changing communication and information technologies required firms to

ensure that its workforce be computer savvy.

It is natural to conclude that some, if not all, of the 20th century food system's educational

needs will carry on into the new millennium. However, the 21st century educational

requirements are likely to evolve more quickly than they did in the past century. The knowledge,

skills, and abilities of the 21st century food system employee may be different than those of the

employee of the 20th century in order for food system organizations to prosper in the new

millennium's markets.



Needs

Recently, I conducted a telephone survey of 30 middle- and upper- management

individuals in food system organizations. The purpose was to assess the learning needs of their

employees. Respondents said that to be competitive in the fast-changing global market, food

system firms need employees with learning that is up-to-date throughout their employees'

careers. They recognize that the knowledge base of individuals they hire with bachelors,

masters, and even Ph.D. degrees will change rapidly and completely in a short time due to











technological advances. Hence, their new hires must be able to contribute now. But of equal, if

not more importance, food system employees must have the opportunity to master new content

in areas of agricultural and managerial economics and be life-long learners so they can contribute

in the future.

Furthermore, the survey respondents identified three areas of learning critical to their

efficient and effective operation. The first is management. Vice presidents, directors, and

managers indicated that employees need to be well trained in human, financial, and information

management in order for their firms to have a competitive edge. Human resource management

skills are imperative since 21st century food system problems are likely to be solved by

interdisciplinary team efforts rather than one person within a single discipline. Financial

management training is necessary to assess the opportunity costs of different ventures and grasp

the bottom line. Increasing quantities of information in a plethora of forms require 21st century

food system employees to be able to sort, sift, manipulate, summarize, and use information for

decision making. Furthermore, the survey results suggested that it is not just one of these

dimensions of management human, financial and information that is important. Rather, it is

the combination of the three that will contribute the most to an operation's success.

The second area of importance for their employees is the knowledge of the markets in

which they operate. Understanding markets requires training in prices, risk, and market

structure; international dimensions of markets; and strategic planning for entry into new markets

and maintaining existing market shares.

Finally, the survey respondents indicated that continuous updating of employees'

analytical abilities is necessary. Quantitative methods, forecasting, and simulation skills lead to

effective critical thinking and decision-making; all necessary skills for 21st century food system










employees, according to the survey respondents.

The middle and upper management respondents suggested that workers in executive,

professional and technical occupations would use their previous educational and work

experiences as the foundation for this additional training. But due to time constraints, location

considerations, and the desire to grasp opportunities quickly, employees will demand learning

when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. For example, suppose you are an

economic analyst for Quaker Oats and you need to forecast the sales of a new variety of cereal

for your team leader. Your deadline is two weeks! You recognize that you need a refresher

course in forecasting tools. The opportunity costs of you attending a three credit course, even if

the university nearby offers the course, is too high. You may be required to travel for work

during the semester the course is offered. Furthermore, you need the forecasting tools now, not

16 weeks from now. But suppose your late evening Web surfing locates a well-developed and

effective week-long module on forecasting offered by the Department of Applied Economics at

the University of Minnesota, a land grant university with a solid reputation. You sign up, master

the skills, and provide your team with forecasting scenarios to assess Quaker's cereal market

share under alternative pricing strategies. Your contribution was made possible by your ability

to obtain life long learning when you needed it and where and how you wanted it delivered.

Similar to markets for many new products, the demand for life long learning is unknown.

Thus, there are needs for test markets and test products. As these approaches are considered,

however, it is important to recognize that those who accurately anticipate the size of the market

and its characteristics will be in the best position to supply it in the future.










Driving Forces

Several forces drive the food system's demand for education in management, markets,

and analytical skills at any time and in any place. They are increasing global competitiveness of

the food system market, changing information and communication technology, and increasing

diversity of the work force.

Globalization. Clearly, the food system operates in a global economy. Just look up and

down the aisles of your grocery store. Grapes are from Chile, cheese is from France, and lamb is

imported from New Zealand. Furthermore, the grocery store where you shop may be owned by a

Danish firm. If one examines the supply chain of some of these foods, one may find that the

farm producer supplying the food to the grocery chain receives inputs from a multinational firm

and contracts part of his production to another multinational firm all according to very specific

requirements imposed by the grocery chain but dictated by consumer demands.

Firms operating in the food system from farm to fork are finding that their decisions are

affected by the changing global market, and may even affect the global market. To remain

competitive, they demand that their employees contribute to effective decision making by having

up-to-date knowledge, abilities and skills in management, markets and analytical tools.

Technology. Advances in communication and information technology, such as palm

pilots, books, cell phones and the World Wide Web, allow information to be processed in a

useful form and delivered nearly instantaneously to the key decision makers. Food system firms

would be lost in their market if they were unable to obtain the latest market news and other

information in a timely fashion. As food system managers adapt to these technological changes,

they expect their employees to be well versed in communication and information systems.

Furthermore, they think if market news and data are available to them in a timely fashion on an










as-needed basis, why shouldn't educational institutions be using the same technology to make

learning opportunities available in a timely fashion on an as-needed basis as well.

Admittedly, technology changes have entered our educational system. As reported by the

Institute of Higher Education, 15 percent of all classes used Internet resources in Fall 1996. This

percent jumped to one third by Fall 1998. Email usage increased from 8 percent in 1994 to

nearly 50 percent in Fall 1998. However, education delivered via distance education is just in its

infancy. E-curriculum.com estimated that less than 100,000 students have benefited from on-

line education when surveying more than 100 institutions. Forbes recent perusal of American

college and university distance education offerings suggests "Taking classes over the Internet is

easy. Finding the colleges that offer them is not." However, Forbes also reported that U.S.

corporations have found on-line training useful for their employees and last year spent $1.1

billion for on-line training. According to Forbes, Merrill Lynch expects these expenditures to

grow to more than $11 billion by 2003. Last fall, John Chambers of Cisco Systems predicted

that "Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a

rounding error."

Diversity. America's increasingly diverse labor pool has also been a driving force for the

changing learning needs of the food system. Whites, which were nearly 90 percent of the labor

force in 1970, were only 80 percent of the workers in 1998. Their share is expected to continue

to decline in the 21st century. In 1980, females were slightly more than 40 percent of the labor

force. They are projected to be nearly half of the work force by the year 2006. The percent of

Hispanics in the labor force is expected to increase to nearly 11 percent by 2006, double the 5.5

percent in 1980.

No longer will you find meetings at firms and organizations of America's food system










with just white males. More and more one will find a gender, racially, and culturally diverse

group of people reaching effective decisions. Furthermore, these individuals will have different

training, experiences, backgrounds and demands on their time away from the office. Each

individual will have different opportunity costs for their learning. It may be that the sales

manager for Purina is a single father who cannot take evening classes because he coaches his

daughter's soccer team. Or maybe the African-American woman in charge of dry goods buying

for Proctor and Gamble job-shares because she has elderly parents for whom she is caring.

Perhaps the Hispanic manager of a firm's Texas cattle operations grew up in the industry, and

travels the majority of his time. These diverse individuals still want and need life long learning

to do their work effectively. Yet, the content and the delivery method of their learning needs

likely will be vastly different.



As we look to the 21st century, we see that the increasingly competitive global market,

rapid changes in information and communication technology, and increasing diversity in the

backgrounds, life-styles and cultures of life-long learners are withering the boundaries of time

and location inherent in the current land grant educational system. The food system's demand

for learning in management, markets, and analytical tools in modules made available at any time,

in any place will dictate the educational market for life long learners in the 21st century. These

needs are good news for Colleges of Agriculture in land grant universities. It provides these

institutions with an opportunity, and a necessity, to rethink their curriculum and delivery.










Curriculum


Colleges of Agriculture are challenged to decide if they will participate in meeting the

food system's 21st century needs in agricultural and managerial economics. Questions dealing

with what curriculum is appropriate; where, when, and how the curriculum will be offered; and

who is strategically positioned to fill this knowledge market must be answered.



What

The curriculum content appropriate for the 21st century food system is quite clear.

Employees need education in human, financial, and information management; a knowledge of

markets; and analytical abilities for effective decision-making. The curriculum must be of high

quality so that learners can build on their experiences and become more effective decision

makers.

A quality curriculum is one that is accurate, relevant, flexible, and empowers learners to

solve problems today and in the future. The curriculum must contain cutting edge information,

and tools that life long learners can apply in problem solving, recognizing that these problems

are often interdisciplinary in nature. The content must be packaged effectively incorporating the

latest information in instructional design and respecting the diversity of learners, whether it is

from race, gender, culture or learning styles. In the end, those who take the modules will grade

the quality of the individual modules and the curriculum. Those institutions that do not make the

grade will be left on the shelf just like moldy bread is left on the grocery shelf.

A flexible curriculum provides life long learners with the ability to expand their

knowledge and skill base without duplicating what they already know or learning what they may

not need. For example, quality content in agricultural and managerial economics needs to be










repackaged into modules and offered a la carte. These modules could be engaged in separately,

as might be desired by the economic analyst at Quaker needing forecasting tools. Alternatively,

several offerings could be combined to form a certificate or degree indicating learning at

different levels of understanding and degrees of competence.

The modular learning units could be offered at a variety of levels of interactivity. The

learners who need a refresher in monopoly and monopsony market structure and its impact on

market performance may enroll just to capture the material and learn on their own. The learners

who need feedback on futures prices and their use in hedging may opt to capture their

educational module with an opportunity for feedback from the instructor and interaction with

other learners.

A curriculum where educators effectively empower learners is one that forces students to

discover, think critically, and move forward in the life long learning process. Experiential

learning, where learners gain understanding of concepts through experience, is one means of

empowerment. Here, the instructor moves from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side".

Information and communication technology can help facilitate this movement. Learners benefit

by applying concepts to solve problems, often in their own place of work, while the instructor

facilitates the learning process. The importance of the knowledge gained by learners is

demonstrated and the benefit of their learning is felt by the ability of their organization to

compete in the global market.



Where, When and How

The needs of life long learners of the 21st century food system demand that these

educational opportunities be available anywhere at any time. Technology, such as the World










Wide Web, meets these needs. It allows for synchronous, asynchronous, and geographically

dispersed teaching and learning. Teacher-to-learner and learner-to-learner interactions are also

possible with current technology. Future advances will surely expand the speed and ease with

which learning modules can be developed, delivered and received anywhere and at any time. It

will be the challenge of those meeting the learning needs of the food system to use these

technologies effectively to provide quality educational opportunities that are user friendly and

technologically transparent.



By Whom

Several organizations are poised to capture the life long learning needs in agricultural and

managerial economics of the 21st century food system: entrepreneurial education technology

companies, book publishing companies, food system firms, liberal arts and business schools, and

Colleges of Agriculture in land grant universities. Each has a distinct advantage in the market.

Yet, the Colleges of Agriculture maintain a competitive advantage. They bring the strengths of

their faculty's research and outreach missions to their educational programs. Furthermore,

Colleges of Agriculture have strived to be institutes of higher education for everyone, contribute

to the common good, and make education relevant since 1862. But Colleges of Agriculture must

recognize their limitations and the need for a 21st century curriculum that is of high quality in

order to be competitive in the knowledge market for life long learners of the food system.

Colleges of Agriculture are not always up-to-date with learning pedagogy, nor information and

communication technological advances. They often have limits in their understanding of the

market for educational materials. They are not always willing, and sometimes are unable, to

identify the key problems of the food system.










For these reasons, the 21st century food system's life long learning needs would be best

served by a strategic alliance among several public and private organizations. The food system

firms, themselves, could bring knowledge of the problems facing them and an ability to articulate

their needs. Companies in the area of educational technology, by the necessity of the market, are

continually pressed to keep up with the lightning speed changes in communication and

information technologies. Their technological expertise is needed for seamless delivery and

interaction of the learning modules. They can also contribute to an understanding of, and make

recommendations for, the appropriate learning pedagogy to be used for delivery. Book

publishing companies could bring to the table an understanding of the market for educational

material and the skills needed for dissemination of the educational modules that were developed.

Other educational institutes, such as liberal arts and business schools, could contribute

knowledge to the venture. However, their ability and willingness to meet the specific

management, markets and analytical life long learning needs of the 21st century food system

should be scrutinized.

Such an alliance will not happen unless someone takes risks. Right now, Colleges of

Agriculture are strategically poised to foster the necessary partnerships to meet the food system's

life long learning needs. Their position of advantage will be eroded if they do not take steps now

to meet the vision. Furthermore, Colleges of Agriculture should take steps to seal relationships

among themselves so that educational modules are developed and delivered cooperatively while

recognizing that they contribute to the educational goals of life long learners.










Key Considerations

Not every College of Agriculture will be willing or able to service the food system's 21st

century life long learning needs in agricultural and managerial economics. Those that do will

take into consideration several issues. Those that don't will lose their opportunity to be players

in the future of education. Herbert Alien, the media financier and prime backer of Global

Education Network, said it well when he characterized the opportunity of educational institutions

to participate in online-learning ventures. He said, "The risk is simple. The risk is being left

behind." Unless Colleges of Agriculture want to be left behind they should consider the

following.

Commitment. Administrators and faculty in Colleges of Agriculture must make a firm

commitment to meet the needs of the food system for high quality, flexible, educational

opportunities in agricultural and managerial economics. Faculty and their administrators must be

willing to inform and convince constituents and legislators of the importance of this effort.

Furthermore existing, as well as new, resources should focus on this opportunity.

Quality. Educators must ensure the quality of their curriculum by making it accurate,

relevant, flexible, and one that empowers the learner.

Partnerships. Administrators and faculty in Colleges of Agriculture must reach out to

other educational organizations both public and private to develop and maintain linkages for

effective development and delivery of educational content for the 21st century food system.

Development and Delivery Ease. Faculty should adopt, and College of Agriculture

administrators should support, a team effort in the development and delivery of the learning

modules of the food system's life long learners. If we assume that faculty bring the content

expertise, instructional design experts bring expertise in pedagogy, and the communication and










information technology expertise comes from the technical personnel, then it is the team that

should be responsible for course development and delivery.

Learning Resources. Learning resources, like on-line libraries, are an integral part of the

learning process. They hold the key to the past and the window to the future. These resources

must be kept up-to-date and be available to faculty developing and delivering learning modules

and to learners as they participate in the learning process. It is imperative that these resources be

available to educators and learners at any time and in any place.

Recognition. Colleges of Agriculture must reward faculty for their investment in learning

new technologies and developing new curricula using up-to-date instructional designs to enhance

the learner. Rewards in the form of additional program funds, salary incentives, and release time

are appropriate. Faculty's intellectual property must be protected. Faculty must not be

penalized, particularly with respect to tenure and promotion, for focusing on the life-long

learners in the food system.

Pricing. As Colleges of Agriculture move toward modular, flexible educational

offerings, it makes sense to look at market segmentation. Colleges of Agriculture have done so

in the past with different fees for resident and nonresident, as well as graduate and undergraduate

education. Be forewarned, the pricing of these life long learning offerings must send the signal

that they are of high quality. But Colleges of Agriculture must guard against pricing themselves

out of the market. If these offerings are priced wrong, there are plenty of other organizations,

private and public, that could and would be willing to provide sufficient quality and flexible

educational opportunities to meet the needs of the food system, and attract the necessary talent to

accomplish that goal.

Diversity. A commitment to diversity among administrators, educators and learners in










the 21st century must be fostered. This means not just developing ways to achieve diversity in

gender, culture, physical abilities, and learning and teaching styles, but respecting and fostering

that diversity once it is in place. It is not enough to take different flowers and plop them in a

vase. Rather, the beauty of the bouquet is in the effective mix of the flowers. Colleges of

Agriculture could achieve more diversity by supporting the notion that everyone is different,

accepting those differences, and then respecting those differences through its educational

offerings, particularly those for the life long learner.

Other Opportunities. A word of caution is in order. Trustees, deans, and faculty in

Colleges of Agriculture may consider life long learning, delivered via distance education, for

people employed in the food system as a self contained activity without potential implications for

their long standing resident instruction, research and extension programs. This type of thinking

could be a mistake. Is it not possible that today's and especially tomorrow's information and

communications technologies will make the costs of undergraduate distance education

significantly lower than the costs of resident instruction? If this should happen, those institutions

that work now to respond to the food system's life long learning demands will have an important

headstart in responding to opportunities to provide undergraduate distance education demands.





In Summary

Colleges of Agriculture face an immediate challenge. The 21st century food system needs

flexible life long learning in management, markets, and analytical skills. Those Colleges of

Agriculture that continue to take their mission seriously, closely monitor the 21st century food

system's life long learning needs, and meet these needs with creative and high quality learning










opportunities, will be the life long learning providers of the 21st century food system. Those

Colleges of Agriculture that do not will be left out, and the food system's life long learning needs

in agricultural and managerial economics will be met by others.










FOR MORE INFORMATION:


Bowen, B. E. and J. S. Thomson. 1995. "Distance education needs of agribusinesses and
professional agriculture associations." Journal ofAgricultural Education 36(4):18-25.

E-curriculum.com 1999 Internet Education Project, Report #1, August 12.

Friedman, T. S. November 17, 1999. "Foreign Affairs; Next It's E-ducation." The New York
Times.

Kellogg Foundation. Visions of Change in Higher Education. Retrieved from the World Wide
Web, August 1, 2000. .

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