Engaging employers, graduates and students to inform the future curriculum needs of soil science


  • Damien J. Field
  • Anthony J. Koppi
  • Lorna Jarrett
  • Alex McBratney


This paper reports on the findings of a project to investigate the future needs of a soil science curriculum to produce work-ready graduates. Soil scientists are expected to deal with increasingly complex problems and graduates are required to have not only have well developed soil science knowledge and skills, but can also work between and across other disciplines communicate their findings appropriately. Survey results obtained from current student, graduates and employers of soil science indicated some areas of discipline knowledge that need to be addressed, as well as more emphasis on developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. Employers also expressed the desire to not only provide advice on curriculum change but a willingness to be involved in the learning environment. Using problem based learning as the scaffold an example of how industry maybe engaged is provided. Issues are raised around the need to align the graduate outcomes for soil science with Threshold Learning Outcomes for Science and Agriculture and the need for a core-body of knowledge (CBoK) that characterise graduates with soil science knowledge. As a result of widespread stakeholder consultations during the project a set of soil science teaching principles was developed (Field et al., 2011). Field, D. J., Koppi, A. J., Jarrett, L. E., Abbott, L. K., Cattle, S. R., Grant, C. D. McBratney A. B., Menzies N. W., Weatherly A. J. (2011). Soil Science Teaching Principles. Geoderma, 167-168, 9-14.