Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences. July 2016 revision.
Monday 28th November 2016
In today’s global marketplace ambitious mangers are needed, who will lead their business successfully through the challenges and seize any opportunities that arise in the agricultural sector. These individuals must have enhanced business, marketing and management skills and a high level of technical knowledge to complement their practical experience. Consultation with industry stakeholders such as Promar, Genus, United Utilities and several prominent and progressive farmers has highlighted the importance of these skills.
This BSc(Hons) in Agricultural Business Management aims to use a variety of techniques to develop and enhance team management and leadership techniques while delivering a high level of scientific and technical understanding. It introduces new and innovative business management techniques which will help businesses become more efficient by embedding the principle of continuous improvement in all areas.
The BSc / BSc(Hons) in Agricultural Business Management award aims to provide the following:
• To enable students to progress into employment in a leadership role within the agricultural industry. • To develop in the students an advanced understanding of the technical, economic, legal and managerial principles relating to farm businesses. • To develop the student’s ability to identify and evaluate the effects of technical, economic, environmental, and ethical issues in the global agricultural industry. • To develop a wide understanding of local and global market opportunities for agricultural commodities. • To develop student’s analytical and management skills to enable them to manage and solve problems associated with leading the development of an agricultural business.
Key knowledge areas at Level 6 are a detailed understanding of current developments in agricultural sciences, and the ability to apply developing concepts and theories to farming practice. The forces shaping the global agricultural industry, and the impacts of traditional and modern farming techniques on the global ecosystem will also be explored. The ability to evaluate management styles and apply key business and workforce management techniques is a key feature of this programme.
FHEQ Level 6; Appreciation & understanding of new developments in farming and management practices.
RC6101 - Exploration of new and established research in all aspects of agricultural science
RC6201 - Design, implementation, management and evaluation of an individual research project.
RC6106 - Critical analysis of global food markets and the impact of consumer preferences on production planning & marketing strategies
RC6105 - Methods of meeting the global increase demand for high quality food products while minimising any negative effects on the environment.
Students progressing from Level 5 will have developed analytical and evaluative skills. These will be further developed to enable them to devise, sustain and critically evaluate arguments, and to make informed decisions in complex and unpredictable situations. Self evaluation skills will be developed in group tasks when they will be required to act as either a leader or a group member, and reflect on their performance.
FHEQ Level 6; Solving work related problems by the evaluation and application of new ideas.
RC6201 - ability to manage own learning & make use of scholarly reviews
RC6103 - exercise initiative & personal responsibility
RC6104 - critically evaluate arguments, assumptions and data to make judgements
Students on this programme will usually be employed in a managerial position in their family business or at their place of employment. They will demonstrate a high level of employability skills such as self management, problem solving and investigative skills. At level 6 they will also develop the skill required to recruit, develop and manage a workforce, while applying new practical techniques in order to maximise the viability of their business.
FHEQ Level 6; improvement of business performance through application of new knowledge.
RC6102 - application of techniques at the forefront of agricultural disciplines
RC6103 - leadership skills and workforce development
RC6201 - Self management, investigative & problem solving skills
During this programme students will improve their written and oral communication skills through presentations, group tasks and production of a variety of written assessment materials. They will be required to reflect on their own performance to identify areas where communication could be improved.
FHEQ Level 6; Communicate information, ideas, problems & solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
RC6101 - Production of knowledge transfer materials
RC6103 - performance appraisal of self and others
RC6201 - production of dissertation and associated presentation
The management of an agricultural business requires a huge range of skills, from practical farming abilities, to the ability to analyse short and long term local, national and global market trends and align the business accordingly. Students progressing from Level 5 study will possess the underpinning scientific understanding and financial management skills.
This programme aims to develop the skills necessary to continuously seek and evaluate new information, to solve complex problems through critical analysis and application of new knowledge, and to provide clear and inspirational leadership to a workforce. These skills will be developed through a range of taught and self-directed modules composed of a wide range of teaching and assessment methods.
Modules such as RC6101 and RC6102 will explore in depth up to date developments in agricultural research, and this will allow critical evaluation of farming methods in RC6105 and RC6104. A new and innovative set of management tools will be developed in RC6104 and RC6103. Students will be able to pursue specialist interests and develop self management skills in their research project (RC6201). The optional modules (RC6106 & RC6107) will allow students to study topics most relevant to their future career aspirations.
Graduates of this programme should be well equipped to lead a sustainable, profitable agricultural business.
The candidates will have successfully completed the FdSc Agriculture or FdSc Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management. Alternatively, academic credits (240, of which 120 must be at Level 5, or equivalent) awarded via studies undertaken in similar disciplines will be considered, including external programmes, where candidates can demonstrate sufficient practical experience. Candidates will be interviewed and the decision will be made through the college APL committee.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), Accreditation of Certified Learning (APCL) and
Accreditation of Experiential Learning (APEL)
Appropriate consideration will be given to applicants previously certified and/or being assessed for award classification within an accepted biological/life science discipline. Similarly, any applicant who has not received certification for prior learning experiences, but has worked within the discipline, will also be considered. Acceptable work-based experience could include one, or a combination of several, of the following: herd, flock or crop management, youngstock management, managerial experience in the allied industries such as nutrition, breeding or advisory companies.
The University will assess whether the learning derived from experience and/or prior certificated study is equivalent to that of the learning derived from the programme of study. This evidence may include a combination of skills and learning outcomes, in addition to the level and relevance of the subject knowledge and understanding to be evidenced by the applicant. Prior accredited learning must be supported by a transcript indicating the number, and level, of credits, achieved, and the titles of the courses for which they were awarded.
An applicant not accredited on a certificate or transcript, would be asked to map their experience against the module, and/or programme learning outcomes, to provide a clear, evidenced paper submission.
Conversely, applications stating certified learning experience must be accompanied by the certificate awarded for the qualification. In most cases, these must have been achieved within five years of the date of application.
The required intellectual and practical skills outlined in the subject benchmark statements (para 5.6.1 & 5.6.2) will be continuously developed during the programme by encouraging students to apply theoretical knowledge to "real world" problems, many of which would be drawn from their own businesses. They will be supported in the critical evaluation of suggested resolutions and will reflect on the appropriateness of any decisions made. This will be achieved through formative as well as summative exercises.
Analytical and data interpretation skills (para 5.6.3) will be developed through both their honours research project, and through the introduction and application of lean management techniques to their business. It is anticipated that the collection, interpretation and presentation of raw data on various physical and financial performance measures will constitute a large proportion of these modules, with business decisions being made and justified based on the data collected. It is anticipated that the majority of data will be in electronic form, hence enhancing students digital literacy skills
Communication skills (para 5.6.4)will be key to the lean management and leadership & performance management modules. Both of these will require clear communication of decisions & instructions, and methods of communicating unwelcome information will be explored. High level written and oral communication skills will be required in the production of a dissertation and presentation for the honours research project.
A strong emphasis of this programme, and an underpinning theme through all modules, will be the development of interpersonal and teamwork skills. Formative group projects will develop both teamwork and leadership skills, and these will be assessed through the production of a portfolio including a reflective log for the leadership & performance management module. This module will also test and develop self management & professional skills (para 5.6.7).
Knowledge & understanding of how the scientific principles of crop and animal production can be applied in the context of global socio-economic and environmental influences (para 5.6.8a) will be developed in all modules, with particular aspects emphasised RC6101, RC6102, RC6105 and RC6101.
Knowledge & understanding of business management techniques (para 5.6.8b) will be developed through the exploration of lean management techniques and their application to farming businesses, and also through the evaluation of workforce management strategies which aim to maximise the motivation and productivity of employees.
The planning, execution and reporting of an honours dissertation will ensure the benchmark statement requirements outlined in paragraph 5.5.8c of the benchmark statements as students will need to select and apply correct concepts and theories supported by an in-depth understanding of current scientific and vocational literature. They will also be required to evaluate the methods used, communicate results and identify the vocational relevance of their research.
Teaching and Learning
The pattern of delivery is a unique feature of this programme which makes achievement of a BSc (Hons) qualification available to those who are already employed full time in the industry and have business critical roles that would not allow them to study in the standard full time mode of 5 days per week. The full time programme is delivered in 2 days per week (currently Wednesday & Thursday) over 1 year, and the part time route is delivered over 1 day per week over 2 years. The compact mode of delivery of the full time route is made possible by timetabling up to 6 hours of lectures per day with little or no non-contact time while in college. The total contact hours per module are comparable to those offered by other institutions. The part time students fill in to the full time route taking Wednesday modules in year 1, Thursday modules in year 2. This pattern of delivery was designed in consultation with industry representatives who identified a gap in local and national provision for their employees who wished to gain higher level qualifications while remaining in full time employment.
Lectures are scheduled between 9.00 - 12.00 and 13.00 - 16.00 and each lecture is typically 3 hours in duration. At level 6 students will be expected to be developing self-directed methods of learning which foster the development of a culture of lifelong leaning. The teaching & learning methods used will include strategies to develop these skills through the use of problem-based learning, group projects, case studies, visits and individual research tasks.
Written feedback will be given on all summative assessments, and ongoing formative assessment will usually receive verbal feedback, for example questioning during and after group or individual tasks. Students will be encouraged to continually self-reflect and identify areas where their own performance could be improved.
A variety of summative assessment methods will be used, including written reports, case studies, production of scientific posters, design of knowledge transfer media, seen and unseen time constrained exams and oral presentations. This will ensure that all students are given the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills while having the opportunity to achieve to their full potential.
Almost without exception the students joining this programme will already be in full or part time employment in a first-tier managerial role within the industry. The aim of this programme is to develop their skills and confidence in handling work related problems, making evidence based decisions which benefit the business, and communicating with and developing their workforce. On completion of the programme it is anticipated that the graduates will be fully prepared for the next level of management and be able to confidently provide direction for a whole farming or allied business.
Both Reaseheath College and the University of Chester are committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. Both institutions seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivery is to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and the diverse needs of our students are provided for. At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:
Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking also enhances equal opportunity, fairness and independence to all students.
In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of both institutional Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.
Reaseheath College offers specific support for students with specified learning needs, encompassing all physical abilities, in conjunction with the Higher Education Support Team (HEST) on campus. In collaboration with student support services, and safeguarding task groups, the college's equality and diversity policy aims to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the College have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job. The policy also aims to eliminate discrimination, which is unlawful or unfair.
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