41-3 Developing a Regional Learning Community around Teaching Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems at the University Level.

Poster Number 523

See more from this Division: A01 Resident Education
See more from this Session: General Resident Education: I
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
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Catherine A. Perillo1, Jodi Johnson-Maynard2, Ashley Ater-Kranov1, Alison Harmon3, Pam Mavrolas4 and Kristen Koenig1, (1)Washington State University, Pullman, WA
(2)University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
(3)Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
(4)Mavrolas and Associates, Helena, MT
Faculty at three land grant universities in the northwestern US (Montana State University (MSU), University of Idaho (UI) and Washington State University (WSU)) who were all in various stages of developing and/or enhancing undergraduate education in sustainable and organic agriculture became aware of each others’ efforts and decided to develop a project surrounding our mutual interests.  We were successful in acquiring a multi-state Higher Education Challenge Grant from the USDA-CSREES, which has allowed us to begin working together in many areas.  These include: curricula development, program- and classroom- level student learning assessment, assessment of student learning from field-based experiences (off-campus internships and on-campus organic farm practical experiences), as well as professional development for the faculty and staff involved.  Our collaboration has developed into a regional learning community (LC) where faculty and staff among the three institutions  share and build off each others' ideas.  Regular activities of the full LC include annual working meetings and shared seminars. Multiple cross-institutional working groups have: developed and begun testing student learning assessment tools;  and have shared ideas and approaches for food/agriculture systems capstone courses, and for instruction and management of on-campus organic teaching farms.  Documenting the "value-added" aspects of the learning community has become an additional integral project component, and is being assessed through survey, interview, and meeting evaluation tools developed by the project team.  Initial results suggest that the strengths of the learning community include: 1) the development of the personal and institution relationships to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences;  and 2) the overall efficiency of working with learning community members as compared to individually building a curriculum.  These and additional experiences and findings from the first two years of the three year project will be presented.
See more from this Division: A01 Resident Education
See more from this Session: General Resident Education: I