This paper summarizes the development, conduct, and evaluation of an advanced course emphasizing applied problem solving on an interdisciplinary basis. The course was oriented toward tropical agriculture in developing and underdeveloped countries, though the physical resources of Puerto Rico were its primary subject. The course was generally informally taught, with a maximum of 16 students from different disciplines teamed so as to make recommendations which would enhance agricultural productivity and contribution to specific geographical areas of Puerto Rico. The areas were selected so as to vary in rainfall, topography, soils, agricultural enterprise orientation, and proximity to market. After in-depth classroom study of these specific sites in Puerto Rico, the students and faculty visited each study site to determine directly the applicability of their recommendations derived in the classroom. In addition to learning of new technology, integration of principles from other subject matter areas, and application of problem solving to real world situations, the students had an opportunity to observe tropical agriculture first-hand and to travel briefly, study, and consult in a different culture. Student evaluation of the course was extremely high, with an average of 9.5 of 10 possible. Several student comments indicated that this kind of course, different from the typical lecture format, was a necessary "cap" course, particularly for internationally oriented students.



problem solving, international agriculture, Puerto Rico

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