The JIAEE is the official refereed publication of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education. Its purpose is to enhance the research and knowledge base of agricultural and extension education from an international perspective.
Outstanding Article of the Year
The JIAEE Managing Board is directed by Dr. Kristina Hains, Executive Editor, Dr. Alexa Lamm, Managing Editor, and Dr. Robert Strong, Past Editor.
From the Executive Editor
Merriam-Webster defines collaboration as:
“... to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.”
As young academics, we are encouraged to seek out those with similar or complementary interests and develop joint research projects. As older practitioners, often it is required to engage with groups or communities with which we can share resources, so there is synergy for everyone involved. And as late career “prac-acdemics,” it is not unusual for the field to expect us to mentor and share our collaborative secrets with the next generation.
However, the concept of collaboration can be a tricky thing. There are many facets to effective collaboration. Who should I collaborate with? Does this faculty, practitioner or community member share a similar work ethic to mine? Once the collaboration begins, how do you develop trust, accountability and respect? Who should take on what roles, and what does effective delegation look like within a group? Finally, what happens when the resulting product is a rousing success? Or alternatively, what do you do when there is no product or it’s a miserable failure? One thing is for certain – if you can figure out all of the nuances of developing effective collaborative partnerships, often the results are no less than amazing.
Unfortunately, the activity of collaboration tends to get a bad rap. As educational professionals, often there aren’t enough hours in the day to cultivate a new collaborative relationship. Or we feel there aren’t many individuals doing what we do. Or perhaps, it may just be easier to do the task yourself, rather than partner up with someone else for (what may be perceived as) the same results. But that’s the beauty of it – it won’t be the sameresults. Ideally, collaboration will lead to synergy, and synergy will lead to a better final product, and lots more future collaborations. This is the power of working together.
Browse through the April 2019 issue of JIAEE and you will notice a wide variety of collaborations. Within this issue, we have both our last Book Review and our first Research Note manuscript. The Book Review looks at the text Youth: Realities and Challenges for Achieving Development with Equality (edited by Daniela Trucco & Heidi Ullmann) which ultimately calls for stronger multidisciplinary approaches to policymaking related to Latin American and Caribbean youth. In our first Research Note, Tanzania Social Action Funds and Sokoine University of Agriculture partner with Ohio State University to discuss the influence an agricultural subsidy extension program has on smallholder maize farmers in Tanzania.
Further in the issue, Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are considered as a potentially effective way for extension officers to engage with farmers in the Caribbean; in a study on Best Horticultural Farming Practices (BHFP) in Kenya, it was determined that group cohesion does play a role in supporting application of BHFPs. From a workforce development standpoint, in a collaboration between the University of Florida and the UF AREA project, the self-perceived readiness of Haitian agricultural university students to enter the workforce was explored.
In addition, there were more methodological or curricular-based articles. In a Delphi study from Texas Tech University, experts identified 80 topics in 24 courses that were considered foundational to a graduate certificate focused on food security for Sub-Saharan Africa. Regarding methodology, researchers from the University of Georgia discussed the utility of employing nonprobability sampling techniques and some of the challenges that may arise. Finally, through a collaboration titled the Education and Research in Agriculture (ERA) project, it was suggested that Senegalese professors have positive attitudes in the classroom but engage in fewer and may lack the self-efficacy needed to utilize more learner-centered instructional strategies.
Just a few weeks subsequent to our 2019 AIAEE Annual Conference in Trinidad, collaboration is something that should not be just in the back of our minds, but in the forefront. Meeting new people, rekindling old connections, exploring collaborative possibilities – sometimes the promise of working with a fellow colleague is just what the weary professional needs. I encourage you to read the articles cover-to-cover in this April 2019 edition of JIAEE. Who knows, one of these articles may just spark an idea for collaboration you may want to undertake for yourself!
Kristina D. Hains
Executive Editor, JIAEE