Goals and Assessment

Our program aims to train analysts and researchers in a broadened vision of the possibilities of agriculture, including pursuit of underexploited ecological and social opportunities. Specific goals of the Program are to:

  • enable students to analyze tradeoffs of different agricultural systems embedded within the greater complexity of socio-ecological systems
  • expose students to concepts of systems, ecology, and public process
  • engage students in careful consideration of the social, economic, and environmental outcomes of different industrial and biological processes
  • challenge students to understand the potential of inclusive participatory processes

How we are attaining those goals

The Agroecology Program requires students to take a core curriculum that is interdisciplinary and that offers various perspectives on the agricultural endeavor.   Agroecology 701 takes the perspective of the world looking in on the farmer, while Agroecology 702 takes the perspective of the farmer looking out on the world.   Both courses cross disciplinary boundaries and force students to understand complex interactions across the social and natural sciences.   Agroecology 720 requires students to travel throughout the state and investigate a diverse set of production and natural systems.  The seminar, Agroecology 710, is founded on student participation and input, directly responding to student assessment of need.

How we assess our success

The Agroecology Program assesses its success by continual solicitation of evaluation by its students and faculty affiliates.   The Program offers students a number of avenues to communicate their experience, including course evaluations, semi-annual student listening sessions, and exit interviews of all graduating students. Through recent bylaws amendments, starting in the 2014-15 academic year, Program Governance Committee Meetings are made public minutes are made available to students with all non-private information.  The goal of the bylaws changes is to increase student access to the governance process.  

In General, the Agroecology Program prides itself on being dynamic and responsive to student input. A salient example of this is that in the fall of 2013, the Agroecology 710 seminar was focused on reworking our other core course offerings to respond to student expectations.  15 Agroecology students spent the semester redesigning course content and delivery methods for both 701 and 702.  Many of their ideas influenced coursework in the 2014-15 year, and have provided the foundation for a successful grant proposal for course redesign through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences which will result in an overhaul of Agroecology 701 in the fall of 2016.