Q&A: Required Internships, More Financial Support Needed

Q&A: Required Internships, More Financial Support Needed

Jim Faust

GG: How would you propose the industry reach out to more young people about the value of a career in horticulture?


Faust: The best thing we’ve done at Clemson University to encourage students toward careers in floriculture is to make internships a requirement for graduation. Only about half of our universities have this requirement. Once students get a taste of a positive professional environment, they are more motivated and have better direction.

Programs such as OFA Scholars are also tremendous experiences for students.

GG: What would you do–or like to see done–to increase the role of universities as research providers?

Faust: We live in a society that does not like the idea of raising taxes. University revenue streams include tuition, government grants and industry grants. If you are a university administrator and you have dollars to invest in researchers, what choices would you make? I suspect you’d increase tuition and invest in the programs that continue to attract students despite the higher prices. So, I invest in the most profitable fields of study and eliminate, or reduce, those that are not profitable to maintain.

GG: What else would you invest in?

Faust: You’d invest in researchers that can attract the largest grants, engineering and biomedical, because you are allowed to skim off 40 percent (sometimes more) from those grants to put toward infrastructure and development costs.

You’d invest in positions that have potential for future economic development in your state. You’d also maintain the traditional programs that bring in significant industry dollars. Although, you don’t get to tax those grants, you would want to reward those industries that are interested enough to invest in your existing researchers.