This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Common Knowledge or Common Sense? Evaluating Scientific and Agricultural Literacies in Higher Education




Corbitt, Katie

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Animal Sciences


People are unable to adequately describe the modern world's sophisticated, complex agriculture systems and industries. Higher education instructors and students, despite their expertise and elevated knowledge, are not immune to this phenomenon. Given that, among other subjects, agriculture may be studied separately as a subset of science, agricultural literacy can be seen as a form of science literacy. By studying about agriculture and related topics in the college classroom learning environment, students as well as educators may reestablish a relationship with the food they have disconnected with and prevent misinformation spread about the vital industry of food production. To provide a broad overview, multiple surveys were used to scope current agricultural knowledge amongst higher education individuals; sentiment of instructor discussions that spontaneously address agriculture; credibility judgements of graduate students and their past instructors; narratives of misinformation, biases, and other phenomena graduate students have faced academically; and how professional development workshops can train future educators in areas of scientific and agricultural literacy. Abstracted findings across multiple studies conclude that there are many factors that influence knowledge of animal agriculture and food production. In order to mitigate harmful effects of negative media, oral messages, and other methods of communication, continuing education of agriculture into higher education is a powerful, proactive mechanism to consider.