Volume XL No. 3
New Board of Directors
A New Name
It seems appropriate that the name change is taking place as our organization enters its fiftieth year of serving agricultural educators nationwide. We will carry the new name to the Golden Anniversary Convention in New Orleans, December 8-12, 1998.
Following the National Research Council's publication of Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education in 1988, "vocational agriculture" became known nationally as "agricultural education." Agricultural education leaders have debated removing the word "vocational" from the professional organization's name on numerous occasions since 1988. In Las Vegas, the debate continued and the new name emerged.
"School-based agricultural educators embrace our vocational education heritage," said NAAE President Duane M. Fisher, agricultural education teacher at Vinton Shellsburg High School in Vinton, Iowa. "However, many state and national decision makers, including legislators, view vocational education only as short-term job training. Agricultural education is much more than that."
The new name will be more inclusive and reflective of our approximately 7,250 members, which include adult and postsecondary agricultural educators as well as university teacher educators and state agricultural education staff. A number of state associations, affiliates of the national organization, have already changed their names or adopted names that do not include the "vocational" reference, such as the Iowa Agricultural Educators, Agriculture Teachers Association of New York, California Agricultural Teachers' Association, and the Vermont Agricultural Teachers' Association. It is anticipated that some other state associations will follow this trend.
The American Vocational Association (AVA) has also confronted the name change issue recently. Although the initiative to change AVA's name failed during its last test, it surely will resurface. The AVA journal, recently renamed Techniques, published an article in the November/December 1997 issue entitled, 'To "V" or Not to "V"?' that addressed the name change debate nationwide.
The NAAE office will be relocating to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, in late spring or early summer 1998, as part of the newly formed National Agricultural Education Headquarters. NAAE executive director, Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman, said, "Given the imminent relocation of our association and the prevalent attitude of agricultural educators nationally, the time is right for the name change. I'm excited about the challenges and opportunities facing our organization in 1998 and beyond."