Progress 06/01/05 to 05/31/06
During the grant period 41 Cornell students and 22 Indian students from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), University of Agricultural Sciences-Dharwad (UAS-Dharwad), and Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), completed the course requirements for Agriculture in Developing Nations I (IARD 402/fall 2005) in the field of International Agriculture and Rural Development. The two credit-hour course was comprised of 13 lectures, which were videotaped and packaged digitally for access by the Indian students. Students were required to prepare project papers on issues affecting global agriculture. The second segment of the course (Agriculture in Developing Nations II, IARD 602/spring 2006, 3 credit hours) included a 20-day field study trip to sites in India. From January 4 through January 18, 2006, 79 participants -- students, faculty members, and staff from Cornell and the Indian institutions visited four southern states in India. Details of the trip
agenda are posted in the course website. After the trip students and faculty members from both continents continued to meet via videoconferences facilitated by Cornell's Transnational Learning initiative. Also participating in the discussions were five staff from Sathguru Management Consultants. Students prepared joint presentations on one of one of six theme areas -- crops, biotechnology, integrated pest management, food processing and global marketing, animal health, and gender and equity. The theme groups presented their projects via videoconference to the Indian participants. The presentations covered many facets of information relevant to improving India's agriculture and rural development. These presentations are posted on the course web site. Several Cornell and Indian faculty were involved in mentoring the students to develop high quality group project papers. Students completed their group project papers at the end of April 2006 and grades for Cornell students were recorded
at the end of May 2006.
PRODUCTS: Students prepared 75 papers and presentations relevant to international agriculture and rural development focusing on India's needs for agriculture and poverty. Six video conferences and Fourteen lectures presented for Cornell's course IARD 402/602 -- Agriculture in Developing Nations I / II -- are available as streaming or downloadable files on the World Wide Web. A website was developed and maintained for the IARD 602 trip to India. The site includes, though is not limited to, a travel log written by the participating students . A secure-access Blackboard web site was constructed for students in India and the U.S. to exchange ideas and develop joint research projects.
OUTCOMES: Students and policymakers in the U.S. and India have access to lectures and presentations that address India's agriculture and rural development challenges. The partner institutions in India have new material for course development within their curriculums. Students shared their group project papers with the senior policy makers in India, and data from these papers are being used to formulate new strategic issues affecting the fisheries, poultry, horticulture, post harvest, and the allied areas of agri-business. Partnership project results were presented at the U.S.-India partnership conference held in Chennai on January 2006. Representatives from several U.S. land grant universities and Indian higher education institutions attended this conference, and as a result of the deliberations that took place a position statement and future recommendations on how these partnerships can be further promoted were identified and submitted to USAID-Delhi for future consideration.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: Transnational Learning of Cornell maintains a website where lectures, project presentations and other videoconferences are posted for webstreaming and limited downloading. In India, program partner Sathguru Management Consultants continues to play a major role in providing the relevant technical and logistical support among all the host country universities, NGOs, private and public sectors.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: Cornell is seeking funds to continue supporting students in this course. One of India's leading private sector companies has come forward to expand this initiative by providing financial resources to support Indian students and faculty to come to Cornell and participate in IARD 402. We expect 21 Indian students and 3 Indian faculty members to participate in courses offered in 2007. The funding details are in the final stages of approval. Many of the students have a farming background. One of our final objectives is to prepare students to enter the work force as farm consultants, agribusiness managers, contract farmers, members of the value-based agro-industries, upon completion of their certificate. We also encourage them to continue further study at a state agricultural university in India or abroad.
This partnership opened up new opportunities for Cornell students to return to India for their graduate thesis work. At least three Cornell students will be doing their field research in India. Both the IARD 402 and IARD 602 courses enabled the development of friendships and long-term collaborations among partnership institutions, and provided many leads for Indian students to apply for post-doctoral and graduate studies in leading U.S. land grant universities In addition, Indian students experienced a new interactive learning environment based on telecommunications and field visits. Partnership interactions helped students who were more inhibited in their communication and behavioral aspects to come out of their shell and address various issues related to agriculture, and the various socioeconomic facets of India. Cornell faculty continues to learn from this exchange program and revises its curriculum to address international needs. Cornell students are getting a
first hand experience on the challenges facing developing country needs in agriculture and rural development. Moreover, Cornell students are receiving better preparation for global job markets.
- No publications reported this period