The Masters of Agroecology on offer from the partner universities of this network not only provide knowledge not available elsewhere, but they are all designed to ensure graduates are prepared for long, dynamic, and successful careers. These programs are not the standard random conflux of a set of unique courses, but the amalgamation of well thought out courses, teaching philosophies, dedication, and strong links to the real world.
A recent publication by leaders in agroecology education gives insight to how MSc Agroecology are leading the way towards both sustainable future food production and education (Francis, C.A. et al. (2017) Agroecologist Education for Sustainable Development of Farming and Food Systems, Agron. J., 109(1): 23-32).
They identify 6 shifts required for a sustainable future…
- Recognize and Accommodate to Natural Resources Limits and Global Climate Change
- Embrace and Adapt to Human Population in Balance with Available Resources
- Develop System that Rely on Appropriate Technologies and Local Resources
- Replace “Monoculture Mentality” with Diverse and Creative Thinking
- Overcome Institutional Stagnation in Education and Research Planning
- Evolve from Short-term “Anthropocentric” Focus to “Ecosystems” Thinking
And 12 principles already in action in MSc Agroecolgy which they believe will lead to graduates able to drive these shifts…
- Use ecological principles to inform design of farming and food systems
- Adapt multi-criteria sustainability assessment of food systems
- Work with stakeholders to develop shared goals for sustainable development
- Recognize farmers experience as one valid contributor to farm system design
- Create holistic understanding for systems evaluation and future scenario design
- Combine methods from science with practical experience
- Integrate discipline-derived components into whole systems scenarios
- Use organic farming as a working model for sustainable agricultural systems
- Maximum use of contemporary resources in local food systems
- Emphasize social learning, autonomous activity, and lifelong education
- Recognize student experience as a key contribution to team learning
- Design learning to build capacity for future responsible action
The application of these principles are NMBU saw them awarded the prestigious Education Quality Award, presented by the Norwegian Minster for Education! A real honour for years of real effort and progress.
In June 2016, this network held a ‘Careers Week’, during which four sessions on various aspects of life after MSc were discussed. The links to the video recording of these sessions are provided below, to give you even more inspiration to become an agroecologist: