Agribusiness Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Importance and Inclusion of Decision Science Topics in Undergraduate Agribusiness Curricula
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Agribusiness degree programs train managers to make decisions in complex business environments. Curriculum designers generally look to the offerings of peer institutions for guidance. Decision science (DS) topics are important parts of agribusiness curricula, and students should learn about these areas. Measuring faculty members’ perceptions of the current inclusion and importance of teaching DS topics is a necessary step in developing a prioritized list of teaching needs. Leaving curriculum design to undocumented or random processes would be a poor start to training our nation’s future agribusiness managers. This research used a correlational ex post facto design to analyze faculty members’ perceptions of topic importance and inclusion. A random sample of faculty members was emailed a link to an online four-part questionnaire. Forced Likert-type scales measured the perceptions of importance and inclusion of 18 selected DS topics. Borich’s (1980) model of weighted discrepancy scores was used to develop a rank order of DS topic curricular needs. Forced-entry multiple regression was used to describe how the variation in the dependent variables measuring perceived importance was partitioned among sets of predictor variables. Teaching DS topics in a faculty member’s coursework was significantly correlated with faculty members’ overall perception of the importance of DS topics in the agribusiness curriculum, albeit at a low level. Although most dedicated DS courses were taught in agribusiness departments, no significant relationship existed between department and overall perceived importance of teaching DS topics. Faculty members who had earned a business degree did not rate DS topics as more important compared to those who had not earned a business degree. Respondents from departments with industry advisory councils did not rate the importance of DS topics higher than those from departments without such councils. Of the 18 DS topics studied, Project Management was identified as the one most needed to be added to agribusiness curricula. Forced-entry multiple regression was used for explaining variation among variables. Of the 18 importance-related dependent variables, those for Linear Programming and Material Resource Planning had no significant relationship with any independent variables. The remaining models explained at most 13.9% of the variations, and frequently much less.
Wolfskill, Lawrence Arthur (2011). Agribusiness Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Importance and Inclusion of Decision Science Topics in Undergraduate Agribusiness Curricula. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from