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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 832: V International Symposium on Horticultural Research, Training and Extension

THE FLORICULTURE COLLEGE OF KNOWLEDGE: A CERTIFICATE PROGRAM FOR GREENHOUSE GROWERS

Authors:   E.S. Runkle, S.J. Allen, T.A. Dudek, J.M. Himmelein, D.M. Krauskopf
Keywords:   extension, non-traditional education, ornamentals, production, teaching
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2009.832.25
Abstract:
The Floriculture College of Knowledge (CoK) is a certificate program developed specifically for greenhouse growers who want to improve their knowledge and skills in the production of floriculture crops. The CoK was structured so that growers could complete the modules in a relatively short time period and at a relatively low cost. The program was developed from 1998 to 2001 by more than 20 people, including faculty and staff at Michigan State University (MSU) and other universities, and by industry professionals. Modules were developed utilizing Microsoft PowerPoint and were delivered in person by academics, extension educators, and graduate students in various locations in Michigan and Ohio from 1998 to 2008. The production program consists of 12 four-hour modules, each focused on specific crop categories (e.g., potted plants), growing practices (e.g., growth regulators), or growing principles (e.g., light management). The registration fee included module notes, handouts, and books so that each participant developed a resource library for future use. Participants that passed an exam for each of the 12 modules received a professional certificate recognizing them as a certified greenhouse grower. All 12 of these production modules have been translated into Spanish, and the Spanish versions were presented twice in Michigan. Nearly 500 people from 30 U.S. states and four countries have participated in the program and more than 60 people have become certified CoK greenhouse growers. Revenue generated from this program has been used to pay for student materials, speaker honoraria, travel costs, and administrative expenses. Proceeds from the program have been used to create an MSU floriculture endowment and to subsidize outreach programs that do not generate revenue. Alternative delivery methods and modifications to the production modules are being considered for the future.
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