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    Building Curriculum and Experiential Learning in Sustainable Agriculture to Enhance Students: Communication and Problem-Solving Skills

    NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Changing consumer preferences, food safety concerns, climate change, and the need to balance the environment and agriculture are pressing issues today. There is an urgent national need to tackle these problems using a multifaceted, disciplinary approach and to prepare students to be a part of a workforce that will contribute to solutions. However, employers complain that graduates are deficient in some skills, including problem solving and communication.

    This project builds capacity in sustainable agriculture and enhances student preparation for the workforce. Specifically, the problem that's being addressed is limited exposure to sustainable agriculture in the current agriculture curriculum at UMES, inadequate instrumentation to support instruction in sustainable agriculture, the inadequate communication and problem-solving skills of agriculture graduates, and the need to incorporate experiential learning in the curriculum to develop undergraduate skills. Students will hone their communication and problem-solving skills through written and oral presentations, which they will prepare and deliver on the research they conduct and the decision cases they analyze. The project's anticipated overall impact will be new experiential opportunities and a new curriculum for students to get experience in sustainable agriculture and enhance their problem-solving and communications skills in preparation for the workplace.

    FUNDING:  NIFA - Capacity Building Grant

    CONTACT:  Dr. Lurline Marsh, Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, lemarsh@umes.edu