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Background : The National Food and Agribusiness Management Education Commission (NFAMEC whose materials can be found at issued a set of recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2006 based upon an extensive three year study of agribusiness management curricula in more than 160 four year programs and 40 two year programs in the United States. The NFAMEC worked with over 40 faculty and industry representatives in preparing recommendations in six key areas: 1) Curriculum Assessment and Revision, 2) Communication/Writing/Critical Thinking Skills, 3) Industry Linkages, 4) Student recruitment, 5) Introductory and Capstone Courses, and 6) Graduate Programs. One of the major recommendations that underlie the specific recommendations in each of the six areas was a need to further internationalize agribusiness management curricula and faculty. A cover story in the Wall Street Journal (December 2, 2002) noted that “Globalizations Gets Mixed Grades in U.S. Universities.” It further explained that not all economic departments in universities were teaching about the impact of globalization. Time magazine’s cover story for December 10, 2006 noted that “students are global citizens, . . . , and they need to act that way.” The widely cited report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce ( released its report December 14, 2006 and noted many limitations of today’s educational system. The Commission (sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others) provides recommendations for changing the educational system and helps prepare students for 21st Century careers. The Chronicle of Higher Education (November 2, 2007) noted that “Virtually every college today feels the pressure to prepare its students for an increasingly international world, one in which an understanding of other cultures, economies, and political systems is critical for success. Traditionally, American higher education has relied on study-abroad programs to supply students with many of those perspectives, but institutions are starting to take a hard look at what they’re teaching students on the campus and realizing they’re coming up short.” At the 2004 NFAMEC preconference, it was noted by many participants that the next “new” class or revision of an existing class would likely be an “international agribusiness class.” Management programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) require programs to provide students with information on “domestic and global environments of organizations.” Typically, a business program will require courses in policy, finance, management, or marketing where this knowledge is taught. Agribusiness programs are not subject to accreditation and thus, no such outcome is required in agribusiness management programs. It is not surprising that NFAMEC found that this knowledge to be inadequately taught in many agribusiness programs.


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