Workshops on Experiential Learning held with agriculture academic staff from three public universities in Kosovo
During the week of June 12th, 2023, the Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education Activity successfully organized a series of highly informative training workshops titled "Structured Internships in Agriculture." These workshops provided valuable insights into internship management procedures, featuring presentations by the esteemed Animal Science Department at Iowa State University (ISU). The event was held at the universities of Prishtina, Prizren, and Peja and was skillfully led by Christen Burgett, M.Sc., Associate Teaching Professor and Internship Programs Director for the Animal Science Department at ISU. Assisted by Dr. Curtis Youngs, Morrill Professor and ME Ensminger Endowed Chair of International Animal Agriculture at ISU, Christen delivered a comprehensive training package that left participants well-informed and engaged in lively discussions.
The attendees comprised professors, experiential learning coordinators, and administrative staff from the Faculties of Agriculture at the Kosovo partner Universities. The presentations delivered during the workshops provided a comprehensive explanation of how Iowa State University's animal science department manages agriculture internships, covering various stages from the enrollment of students in the internship course to credits earned, agreement drafting with companies, monitoring, documentation, promotion and the assessment of internship experiences.
The workshops were divided into four sessions: "The What and Why of Internships," "Developing an Internship Program," "Promoting Internships," and "Developing a Course for Internship Credit," which included a case study presentation on the ISU Animal Science Internship - Graded Experience. The presentations were engaging, encouraging participants to share their thoughts on how ISU's practices could be adapted for their universities.
Attendees expressed their excitement about the informative and inspirational workshops that expanded their knowledge of useful systems and procedures for enhanced experiential learning for students. They saw the workshops as an opportunity to enhance their universities’ efforts in providing students with better, more structured, strategic internship opportunities in agriculture.
The participants eagerly anticipate upcoming activities and workshops as part of the five-year activity, which aims to support their efforts in offering and managing improved internship opportunities for their students. They acknowledged the increasing importance of experiential learning in today's rapidly changing job market, which offers numerous career paths from which students may choose. The participants agreed that prioritizing students' access to high-quality internship opportunities is crucial for helping them clarify their professional aspirations and establish valuable relationships with potential employers in the industry.