Presentation on theme: "Challenges for Agricultural and Applied Economics Programs: Market Niches and Critical Success Factors Robert P. King Department of Applied Economics University."— Presentation transcript:
Challenges for Agricultural and Applied Economics Programs: Market Niches and Critical Success Factors Robert P. King Department of Applied Economics University of Minnesota National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators Washington DC September 9, 2011
Introduction Declining public sector support for higher education Declining public sector investments in agricultural and social science research Sense that the “ag” brand may be too narrow for our faculty and students Dramatic turnover of faculty and agency staff due to retirements
Introduction Strategic challenges and opportunities go far beyond departmental names. Discussion will center on three basic activity areas: –undergraduate teaching –research and graduate programs –outreach We’ll also talk about opportunities for regional/national collaboration.
Undergraduate Teaching Key Challenges –Increasing enrollment more offerings larger sections serving majors vs. service courses –Staffing courses retirements of key people economics training vs. business training
Undergraduate Teaching Environmental Factors –Capped enrollment vs. growing enrollment –Strengths and strategies of competing programs Economics Department Business School –Strengths and strategies of “home” college –Degree to which home university has an agricultural orientation
Undergraduate Teaching Strategies - Enrollment –Grow the major –Grow a minor service to students in home college service to students across the university – here name matters –Partner with Economics or Business –Partner with emerging interdisciplinary programs
Undergraduate Teaching Strategies - Staffing –Increase teaching loads –Adjunct faculty department’s own retirees local Ph.D. economists –Graduate students teaching assistants instructors Much will depend on university budget model and competitive environment.
Research and Graduate Programs Key Challenges –Declining (or already non-existent) support funds –Declining pools of competitive grant funds –Increased emphasis on funding for interdisciplinary, cross-institutional projects –Rising cost of graduate student support as tuition increases
Research and Graduate Programs Environmental Factors –Structure and strength of state support for agricultural research –National/international reputation of home university –Distribution of economists across other units in home university –Collegiate home of Economics Department
Research and Graduate Programs Strategies - Research –Partnerships Intra-collegiate multidisciplinary partnerships Intra-university multidisciplinary partnerships Multi-university partnerships of agricultural and applied economics faculty –Incentives Centers Nine month appointments Allocation of ICR funds to faculty who generate them
Research and Graduate Programs Strategies – Graduate Programs –Agricultural Economics –Joint with Economics Department –Expand to include other applied economists outside of Economics Department –Grow M.S. program agribusiness focus economic analyst focus
Outreach Key Challenges –Shrinking traditional clientele –Competition from other educational service providers –Rapidly declining resources –Attracting talent –Promotion and tenure
Outreach Environmental Factors –Current and projected organization of field staff … their links with department –Size of state … diversity of state economy –Integration of teaching, research, and outreach in “home” college –Flexibility in appointment splits
Outreach Strategies –Exploit complementarities between extension teaching and undergraduate programs –Foster strong research/extension teams within faculty Win-win for promotion and tenure More competitive for integrated research and extension competitive grants
Outreach Strategies –Outreach/Research Centers Purdue Center for Food and Agricultural Business Michigan State Center for Economic Analysis Florida Agricultural market Research Center Texas A&M Agribusiness, Food & Consumer Economics Research Center Can these be organized regionally?
Regional/National Collaboration Regional or national collaboration may become the new normal. Here are just a few possibilities –Regional or national groups of economists to take the lead on major NIFA proposals –Regional or national graduate courses on specialized topics … distance delivery or summer short courses –Regional extension programs
Breakout Discussions Group by region. Share ideas and strategies that have worked in each activity area. Explore opportunities for regional or national collaboration. Report back up to four “actionable” ideas.