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Exploring the Public Value of the Nuffield International Farming Scholars Program

Project Investigator: Dr. Jean Lonie

Public value is a contested, subjective issue. The need exists to continue the exploration of this concept, particularly with regard to programs that focus on individual growth and outcomes. This mixed-methods case study uses public value as the lens through which the Nuffield International Farming Scholars program is viewed. Participant perceptions are captured regarding the relationship between key variables (motivation to participate in the program, personal benefit, professional benefit, post-Nuffield engagement, and demographics) and public value. Qualitative analysis of key informant interviews and survey data combine to create a well- rounded view of how Nuffield Scholars define the concept, as well as their perceptions of individual participant and program contributions to public value. This work also intends to contribute to public value theory, affirming the contestedness of the concept and better understanding its relationship with this specific program. Nuffield Scholars overwhelmingly feel that the Nuffield program contributes to public value, and that the experience allows them to contribute individually. Statistically significant relationships were found between all key variables and public value, validating the participants’ perception. Scholars indicate an increased personal and professional confidence following their travels, which manifests as a stronger sense of agency and increased voice locally and within the agriculture industry. There is also evidence of a different level of engagement and leadership contribution following their Nuffield experience. Participants also reported personal and professional benefit, and a contribution to public value, from the global Nuffield network. In exploring the Nuffield phenomenon through the lens of public value, there is the opportunity to further understanding of how programs delivered at the individual level may have meaning and significance beyond the participant, and discover opportunities to identify and articulate the impact of Nuffield beyond individual scholars.

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