New Curricula for Undergraduate Food-Systems Education: A Sustainable Agriculture Education Perspective
Harmon, Alison H.
Maxwell, Bruce D.
Byker Shanks, Carmen
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New undergraduate degree programs that address food systems have appeared at a number of North American universities in the past decade. These programs seek to complement established food- and agriculture-related courses of instruction with additional curricular elements that build students’ capacity to address complex food-systems issues (e.g., food sustainability, security, quality, equity and justice) in the course of their work in food-related professions. Here, we examine these emerging food-systems curricula, building on our collective experiences developing food-systems degree programs at University of British Columbia, Montana State University, University of California-Davis and the University of Minnesota. We present the conceptual framework that underlies our efforts, based on the premise that our degree programs should help students build “systemic” capacities that complement disciplinary training provided by various specialization “tracks.” Thus, we intend for our graduates to have a dual preparation, in both a particular specialization, and in overarching systemic capacities that enhance their ability to address complex food-system issues. We assess our current curricula in light of our framework, and outline high-priority pathways for further development of these curricula.
Jordan, N., J. Grossman, P. Lawrence, Alison Harmon, William Dyer, Bruce Maxwell, K. V. Cadieux, R. Galt, A. Rojas, Carmen Byker, Selena Ahmed, Thomas Bass, E. Kebreab, V. Singh, T. Michaels, and C. Tzenis. "New Curricula for Undergraduate Food-Systems Education: A Sustainable Agriculture Education Perspective." Nacta Journal (December 2014).