PREPARING GRADUATE STUDENTS FOR FUTURE WORKFORCE IN AGRICULTURE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES

Shida Rastegari Henneberry 1, Riza Radmehr2

1Director of the Master of International Agriculture Program, Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics, Don & Cathey Humphreys Chair in International Studies; College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University, USA

2Ph.D. Candidate of Agricultural Economics, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran; Visiting Scholar at Oklahoma State University, USA

                                                                                                                  

ABSTRACT

Internships have become an increasingly important and inseparable part of many educational degree programs. A good example is the Master of International Agricultural degree Program (MIAP) at Oklahoma State University. The completion of a meaningful hands-on international experience is a critical and required component of the MIAP degree. Understanding the impact of the international experience/internship on enhancing the students’ academic and social learning is important in designing a curriculum that well-prepares students for the future workforce needs. Hence, the objective of this study is to measure the impact of the international experience component of the degree on students’ preparation for their future career. This study analyzes primary data collected through an online survey instrument.  The survey was sent to 120 MIAP Alums and Students. Forty-five usable responses were received, producing a 37% response rate. The results show that the international experience had a positive and significant impact on students’ personal, interpersonal (social), academic, employment preparation (job specific), and civil effect.


BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Shida Henneberry, Director of the OSU Master of International Agriculture Program, has been advising graduate students, cultivating international internship opportunities, developing curriculum, and securing monetary resources for the program since 2010. In addition to serving as the Director of MIAP, Dr. Henneberry is also appointed as a Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics and holds the Humphreys Endowed Chair in International Studies at OSU. Dr. Henneberry has established a nationally and internationally recognized record of global education in the areas of agricultural market development, food demand and nutrition analysis, international trade, food security, and effective pedagogy; with over 100 publications in these areas and another 100 selected, invited, and keynote speeches. She has taken a holistic approach to her teaching, bringing her research into her lectures, and conducting research on teaching. She was the first in OSU’s Agricultural Economics department to develop online courses. Over three decades of working in the academics, Dr. Henneberry has served as the major advisor to over 180 Master’s and 20 PhD students, in addition to mentoring 36 visiting scholars. Her advisees hold prominent positions in academia, private, non-profit, and government sectors, in the US and abroad.