Design and Delivery of a Masterclass in Horticultural Business

Tina Acuna, David Monckton, Mark Boersma, Alison Bailey, Alistair Gracie

Abstract


The Masterclass in Horticultural Business is a national program requested by and tailor-made for Australian business managers and entrepreneurs in horticulture. The University of Tasmania has developed the Masterclass in collaboration with the internationally recognised higher education providers Wageningen University and Research (Netherlands) and Lincoln University (New Zealand). The Masterclass builds on our strong links between teaching and research, development and extension in horticulture. The Masterclass, delivered as a new pre-tertiary qualification (Diploma in Horticultural Business) through the University of Tasmania, combines a strong understanding of horticulture production and business practices. The integrative program has a basis in production horticulture with modules including; people and culture, supply chain management, logistics, law, export, business planning and entrepreneurship. First offered in 2017, the program has attracted a range of industry professionals in horticulture. The design of the Masterclass for a national cohort of students necessitated online delivery that is highly-professional, flexible and relevant to people working in the horticultural industry to foster innovative and creative thinking and engagement among students. Module topics and assignments are designed to promote interaction of the participants with their staff (if they are business owners) or employers (if they work for a business owner). In this way the students are applying learnings to their workplace, raising questions and stimulating discussions about agribusiness. The high degree of industry engagement and endorsement as well as international collaboration in the design of the Masterclass is unique. The intention is that this Masterclass develops strong industry linkages and adds to the partners internationally recognised reputation in agricultural and business education. One of the major deliverables from the course is a student produced business plan, which must be delivered to industry and academic examiners. Many students have provided feedback indicating that they intend to put this business plan into action by applying it to new opportunities for their businesses.

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