Farmer using digital tablet in corn crop cultivated field

Efforts in Global Food Security Education: Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Educator Professional Development Connecting Global Issues to Local Impact

A Sustainable Development Goal Project Supported by OACA

Many of the most pressing agricultural challenges are global in scope and impact. Resolving such challenges requires partnership and collaboration across borders and disciplinary boundaries.

Teaching complex skills necessary for collaboration must begin in the educational system with highly-trained educators modeling the behaviors, and teaching students the connection between local action and global solutions. Developing strong communities of practice, whether face-to-face or digital, is a critical component of this work.

Another key opportunity for improvement is effectively assessing the impact of interventions, offering the largest return on investment, in educator development.

A new study supported by a 2022 SDG Research Grant Award and led by Laura L. Rice, PhD, assistant teaching professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, will enable advancement in teaching about food security in local contexts. In collaboration with the Global TeachAg Network, the proposed activities also foster exploration of the effectiveness of cultivated digital and face-to-face professional learning communities for educators interested in providing instruction about global food, fiber, and natural resources.

Laura J. Rice
Laura L. Rice, PhD

"I was surprised and humbled when I received notification of being granted this funding. I believe quality education will be critical in addressing global challenges," said Rice. "As teacher educators, we need to boost our efforts in focusing on developing quality teachers with the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to provide inclusive and equitable education, opportunity-driven career and technical education and training and global problem-solving for secondary students. This work will help advance teacher training and development around identifying and addressing food security issues and how to take action in their local communities."

The grant has afforded the opportunity to hire two undergraduate students from the Agricultural Education, Communications, and Marketing program interested in food security and conducting undergraduate research. The research team has developed and disseminated the survey, Current Practices and Perceptions of Food Security Education, to all Minnesota agricultural education teachers. Upon closing the survey, the research team will analyze the data and will present findings and engage teachers in a hands-on professional development workshop at the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators summer conference in July.

 

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