W.B. Martin (1981) propounded the hypothesis that effective teaching involves combining teaching skills with human sensibilities so that both science and art contribute to the cognitive process of learning. The successful application of this hypothesis in the classroom or lecture hall requires that the teacher or lecturer be knowledgeable about the audience. Meeting this requirement allows the presentation of new material to be related or made relevant to the experiences or interests of the students. This is a challenge to agricultural educators when one considers that as many as 60 to 70% of today's agricultural students lack farm or other agricultural experiences (Hasslen, 1983). Moreover, it has been suggested that students who lack a farm background or a significant amount of farm experience are disadvantaged as students. Such students often encounter difficulties in the classroom that may carry over into sub-optimal job performance (Helsel and Hughes. 1984). Because of the challenge presented by the nontraditional student clientele currently pursuing baccalaureate programs in agriculture, it is imperative that we, as educators, reevaluate our curricula to determine if our courses are meeting the needs of our students. However, a prerequisite to this evaluation process is the need to develop an accurate profile of the students to be served by the curriculum. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a demographic profile of those students entering the Animal Sciences program at the University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC).



demographic profile, animal science majors

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