Source: VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE submitted to
BUILDING A MODEL EXPERIENTIAL-BASED AGRICULTURAL FOOD SAFETY PROGRAM FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
EXTENDED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1010526
Grant No.
2016-38414-25825
Project No.
VA-Scherer
Proposal No.
2016-05416
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
OW
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2016
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2021
Grant Year
2016
Project Director
Scherer, H. H.
Recipient Organization
VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
(N/A)
BLACKSBURG,VA 24061
Performing Department
Ag, Leadership & Community Ed
Non Technical Summary
The goal of this project is to develop a model program for enhancing community viability through connecting STEM education in agriculture, career exploration, and local workforce development in the agricultural food safety sector. It will serve as a catalyst for innovation in developing cooperative linkages between secondary schools, two-year postsecondary institutions, and agriculture industry partners in Carroll County, Virginia. The program goal will be accomplished through (1) development of an agricultural food safety internship program with capstone experience for students at Carroll County High School, (2) revision of agricultural biotechnology courses at Carroll County High School to utilize a new STEM Lab for Agriculture, have a food safety emphasis, and align with new food safety programs at Wytheville Community College, (3) establishment of new agricultural food safety degree/ certification programs at Wytheville Community College and (4) strengthening of cooperative linkages between partner institutions and businesses to create multiple pathways into the agricultural food safety industry for students in Carroll County. Through this project, partner institutions will work together with leadership from Virginia Tech to create cutting-edge educational opportunities for students based on situated learning theory and current knowledge of student learning in inquiry-based environments. Project outcomes, such as unit plans, structure and assessments for the internship program, and curricula for agricultural food safety at the community college level, will be of widespread interest to those interested in developing similar programs and cooperative linkages to meet SPECA program goals in any area of the agriculture industry.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
(N/A)
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
90360503020100%
Goals / Objectives
This project aims to develop a model program for enhancing community viability through connecting STEM education in agriculture, career exploration, and local workforce development. The proposed project will serve as a catalyst for innovation in developing cooperative linkages between secondary schools, two-year postsecondary institutions, and local agriculture industry partners and will be of widespread interest to those interested in developing similar programs in any area of the agriculture industry. Specific objectives are:1. Develop an agricultural food safety internship program with capstone experience for students at Carroll County High School2. Revise biotechnology courses at Carroll County High School to utilize the STEM Lab for Agriculture, have a food safety emphasis, and align with new food safety programs at Wytheville Community College3. Establish agricultural food safety degree and certification programs at Wytheville Community College4. Strengthen cooperative linkages between partner institutions, the Virginia Tech Food Science Department, and businesses to create multiple pathways into the agricultural food safety industry for students in Carroll County
Project Methods
Plan of Operation and Methodology. Hannah Scherer at VT will serve as the project director (PD) and will be responsible for management of the project. She will employ a graduate research assistant (GRA) for 20 hours/week to support the project and they will work together to ensure that there is consistent communication among all project partners. The GRA will also be responsible for collection and analysis of evaluation data as outlined in the Evaluation Plan below. A co-PD has been identified at each of the partner institutions (C. Dwayne Huff at CCHS and Jamie Edwards at WCC) and they will oversee efforts at their respective sites. Progress will be monitored through monthly conference calls between project leaders at all three partner institutions. The plan of work, with specific resources utilized and responsibilities, is described here for each objective and responsibilities for each person are also summarized in the Key Personnel section below.Objective 1: Agricultural food safety internship program at CCHSWith oversight from Dr. Scherer, the GRA will conduct a literature review of internships, experiential learning, and authentic research experiences in secondary CTE programs and compose a best practices paper to guide the internship program. In collaboration with Dr. Scherer, the GRA, industry partners, and the CTE Department at CCHS, Mr. Huff will develop student learning objectives, expectations, guidelines for activities, and assessments for the internship program in PY1. Revisions to these items will be made in PY2 & 3 in response to feedback from evaluation efforts and will result in the structure needed to make the program a long-term success and ensure it's educational value. Established relationships with local businesses will be leveraged in the development of the program. Grant funding will support 6 paid internships/year in each project year. The GRA will prepare the internship program model for dissemination in PY3.Objective 2: Agricultural biotechnology course revisions at CCHSThree agricultural biotechnology courses are currently offered at CCHS. Work supported by this grant will focus on incorporating inquiry-based laboratories with a food safety focus into the courses. Mr. Huff and Ms. Rasco will revise and teach these courses (Biotechnology Foundations, Biotechnology Applications in Agriculture, and Biological Applications in Agriculture) as part of their normal teaching load. Revisions to the state curriculum guides for biotechnology were completed in July 2015 and will be used as a basis for these course revisions. Changes will be piloted and evaluated during PY1, revised, and implemented and evaluated in PY 2&3. Grant funds will be used to support course revisions through purchase of curriculum materials and/or providing release time. CCHS teachers will work with partners at Virginia Tech to incorporate authentic inquiry experiences in food safety that utilize the STEM Lab in all of these courses. Dr. Scherer will provide expertise in designing inquiry-based instruction. New unit and lesson plans will be documented and prepared for dissemination by the GRA in PY3. Funds committed by Carroll County Public Schools will provide tuition for one teacher to complete certification coursework during the 3-year grant period so that one of the three courses will be offered for dual credit with WCC immediately following PY3.Objective 3: Agricultural food safety degree/certification programs at WCCWork in PY1 will include food safety program curriculum and industry needs research, gathering employment data, a site visit by WCC and CCHS staff to Hartnell Community College's food safety program, and program and course development. Funding from this grant will provide 4 academic year credit hours of course release time for a WCC faculty member to enable them to complete this essential work. Mr. Edwards will conduct this work and contract with an outside expert until a faculty member with food safety expertise is in place. The new workforce training certification in food safety will be offered beginning in PY2 and an associate degree will be offered beginning in PY3. WCC faculty will work with VT food science faculty (on the advisory board) during program development to lay the groundwork for establishment of a transfer program for those students pursue a four-year degree in agriculture related to food safety.Objective 4: Cooperative linkages between partner institutions and businessesThis objective will be partially met through completion of Objectives 1-3. Additionally, a Carroll County Food Safety Education Advisory Board will be established early in PY 1. The co-PDs will identify potential members and the GRA will be responsible for recruitment, communication with the advisory board, and scheduling of 3 meetings per year to be held via web conference. The purpose of advisory board meetings is to update members on project activities and provide a forum for them to give input and guidance on specific components as the project develops. The following individuals have provided letters of support for this project (Appendix A) and they, among others, will be invited to serve on the advisory board: (a) Melissa Chase, Consumer Food Safety Program Manager, Virginia Cooperative Extension; (b) Kellie Worrell, Food Safety Officer, Worrell Family Farms LLC, Austinville, VA; (c) Nikki Cannon, Interim Carroll County Administrator; (d) Mior Beamer, CEO, VA Produce Company, Carroll County, VA; (e) Mark Burnette, Assistant Superintendent, Carroll County Public Schools.

Progress 09/01/19 to 08/31/20

Outputs
Target Audience:Primary target audiences for this project are secondary and 2-year postsecondary students in rural counties. Secondary audiences include local agricultural employers, high school teachers and counselors, community college staff, and agriculture teacher educators. Changes/Problems:Overall, COVID-19 negatively impacted our efforts to collect evaluation data for the 2019-20 academic year. This has affected the level of detail we were able to include in this report. Objective 3: Due to COVID-19, our recruitment efforts have not been as needed to build the program, and there needs to be an evaluation of instruction of current faculty members. Objective 4: The establishment of the advisory board was again delayed due to COVID-19 and transition of a new Academic Dean at WCC. This will be moved for accomplishment as of spring 2021. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The model for the agricultural biotechnology program was shared with the secondary agriculture teacher community through a publication in the Agricultural Education Magazine. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Objective 1: The internship program will continue to be implemented through the CCHS Internship Program, with agriculture teachers aiding with placements. Objective 2:The agricultural biotechnology courses and animal production courses that align with the degree at WCC sequence will continue to be taught based on lessons learned from previous years. Objective 3: Wytheville Community College launched the AA&S in Science, Specialization in Food Animal Production in fall 2019. In Spring 2020, Executive leadership from WCC met with stakeholders and executive leaders from CCHS to discuss a new pathway involved in the certificate in high school folding into the AA&S at WCC. No formal decisions were set due to COVID-19, so these conversations will continue into Fall 2020. To create alignment, Dr. Randy Webb was brought on as an adjunct instructor for spring 2021. Objective 4: Due to COVID-19, the advisory board for the degree was not formalized, and will be set in spring 2021 with the new Academic Dean and leadership.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Agriculture is a complex, technologically-driven field that requires skilled workers at all levels who are equipped to use STEM knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems as they arise. An essential component of the agricultural system is food safety and biotechnology but, unfortunately, educational opportunities are lagging behind industry needs. Creation of new academic opportunities for secondary students at Carroll County High School and two-year post-secondary students in Southwest Virginia will provide preparation for the agriculture industry at multiple levels of educational attainment. Objective 2:In the fall of 2019 the team at Carroll County High School taught Pre-Biotechnology with 13 students. In the Spring of 2020, they taught Biotechnology I with 7 students and Biotechnology II Dual-Credit with 7 students. The school year ended with the COVID-19 lock down which prohibited exaluation activities from occurring. Objective 3: In Fall 2019, the AA&S in Science, SPecialization in Food Animal Production was launched with seven students beginning the program. Six students were retained into the spring semester, but due to COVID-19, all instruction had to be transitioned to an online, asynchronous format. Instruction continued into the fall 2020 semester, with four students being retained from the original seven, and four new students entering into the fall 2020 cohort. Instruction has transitioned to a blended, face to face/synchronous online format to adapt to COVID-19. Overall, project activities in this fourth year, while cut short with COVID-19, strengthened the connections between Carroll County High School and the 2-year program at Wytheville Community College.

Publications

  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2020 Citation: Webb, R., Rasco, R., Steger, D., & Scherer, H. H. (2020). Students Discover Career Ready Skills Through Biotechnology. The Agricultural Education Magazine, 93(1), 45-48. Retrieved from https://www.naae.org/profdevelopment/magazine/archive_issues/Volume93/2020%2007%20--%20July%20August.pdf


Progress 09/01/18 to 08/31/19

Outputs
Target Audience:Primary target audiences for this project are secondary and 2-year postsecondary students in rural counties. Secondary audiences include local agricultural employers, high school teachers and counselors, community college staff, and agriculture teacher educators. Changes/Problems:Objective 1: Responsibility for the internship has been fully transferred to the CCHS Internship Program, so the teachers in the agriculture program do not have as much opportunity to direct the activities of the students. Objective 2: None Objective 3: To meet the current needs at WCC, the focus of the certificate program was changed from food safety to agriculture, with agricultural food safety as a component. This change in objectives was approved by USDA-NIFA in Fall 2018. Objective 4: The establishment of the advisory board for the new program at WCC was delayed until a permanent instructor and/or program director can be put in place.? What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?The staff at Carroll County High School engaged in collaborative work with graduate students at Virginia Tech. These activities led to increased shared knowledge about how structure and to keep a record of the internship program and ideas for how to modify pre-existing labs to foster inquiry-based approaches in Biotechnology courses. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The Biotechnology Teacher presented a discussion program at the Virginia School Board Association annual convention in November 2018. The topic of the presentation was focused on the food safety and the internship program. The presentation shared how this program was preparing students for the workforce and post-secondary education. The model for the agricultural biotechnology program evaluation were shared with agricultural science faculty and agriculture teacher educators via a poster presentation at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture annual professional conference. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Objective 1: The internship program will continue to be implemented through the CCHS Internship Program, with agriculture teachers aiding with placements. Objective 2: The agricultural biotechnology course sequence will continue to be taught based on lessons learned from previous years. Evaluation efforts and publications will focus on disseminating the model to teachers and teacher educators and documenting longer-term impacts of the program on graduates. Objective 3: Wytheville Community College will offer two new courses in the Associate of Art and Science Degree in Science with a specialization in Food Animal Production in 2019-20. AGR 141: Introduction to Animal Science and Technology will be taught Fall 2019 and AGR 231: Agribusiness Marketing, Risk Management, and Entrepreneurship will be taught in Spring 2020. Objective 4: Now that the degree at WCC has been finalized, and is being offered, the next step is to strengthen it by ensuring we have consistent connections with business, industry, and educational partners to make improvements and adjustments to instruction that align with industry best practices and up to date research. By fall 2020, WCC will have an advisory board for the program in place that will be comprised of representatives from CCHS, VT, agriculture partners and business representatives in the region. These members will be sought out in spring 2020, and will be approved by the WCC board in fall 2020. ?

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Agriculture is a complex, technologically-driven field that requires skilled workers at all levels who are equipped to use STEM knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems as they arise. An essential component of the agricultural system is food safety and biotechnology but, unfortunately, educational opportunities are lagging behind industry needs. Creation of new academic opportunities for secondary students at Carroll County High School and two-year post-secondary students in Southwest Virginia will provide preparation for the agriculture industry at multiple levels of educational attainment. Objective 1: The internship program with an emphasis in the agricultural industry and education field (Objective 1) was continued for the 2018-2019 school year with sustained participation at Carroll County High School. The interns were employed by local agricultural related organizations and companies in Carroll County, including a veterinary clinic, Extension office, Farm Bureau, and the Agriculture Program at CCHS. The program was promoted within the high school using promotional materials and conducted through the CCHS Internship Program with placements facilitated by teachers in the agriculture program. Interviews were conducted with students to evaluate the success and identify problems within the program. Six students participated in the internship program. One student participated in the fall semester (2018), six students in the spring semester (spring 2019) and one student participated all year (fall and spring). Through the internship students reported gaining job-related experience, workplace readiness and research skills, problem-solving skills, and professional communication skills. Internships allowed them to explore career opportunities in agriculture, better solidify their intended career paths, develop better job-related skills, see the "reality" of jobs, and develop new personal connections with people in their potential future careers. Objective 2: The Pre-biotechnology, Biotechnology I, and the dual credit Biotechnology II courses were offered in the agriculture program this year with a total of 60 students enrolled. Upon reflection, of the 2017-2018 school year, it was decided that instead of a food safety program with a biotechnology component, it was established that the program would work better with a biotechnology program with a food safety emphasis. In Pre-biotechnology, there were two classes offered in the fall semester (40 total students) of mostly 9th grade students. They studied concepts in Ag Biology, with an immersion of labs that would prepare them for the Biotechnology track. They began by learning how to use the equipment in the STEM lab and properly measuring using metric units. They designed their own experiment, learned how to do basic data analysis and learned to write a lab report. They also examined different cell types using the microscopes, extracted DNA, and investigated different bacteria that cause food-born illnesses. This class gave an opportunity for students to enter the Biotechnology track, instead of taking traditional Ag classes within CCHS. In Biotechnology I, the 12 students enrolled began to develop their Biotechnology skills through a series of labs such as DNA and protein electrophoresis, investigating GMO's, transformation, ELISA testing, testing the effectiveness of different antibiotics on bacterial growth, soil and water testing. Students also participated in a program to test their own well water at Virginia Tech. As part of the trip, they heard from the food safety coordinator about the importance of water testing when it comes to food safety. Each lab built on their technology skills but were also related to how they applied to the agriculture and food safety. In Biotechnology II, all 8 students enrolled completed a semester long capstone project in which they were given a problem to solve within the field of Biotechnology. At the end of the semester the students hosted a symposium where they presented their projects to the superintendent, administration and even local media which received a lot of positive feedback. Students reported feeling like the experience in this course was similar to what they might find conducting undergraduate research in college. They were able to see how the coursework in agricultural biotechnology related to real-world problems and develop valuable scientific research skills. A three-day workshop on food safety and careers was also offered again in the Fall of 2018. Eighteen students were enrolled in the three-day program. The three-day intersession immersed students in food safety from the farm to the table. Students traveled to local farms, restaurants, government agencies and food production facilities to explore what was required at each level to maintain a safe food supply. In addition to these courses being established at the high school, there has been more outreach to incorporate food safety in other classes within the school. For example, a lesson on proper handwashing and food contamination is now taught regularly in the beginning class of the culinary program. Objective 3: In October 2018, the team at WCC proposed the new 2-year Associate of Art and Science Degree in Science with a specialization in Food Animal Production Program to the WCC curriculum committee. In November 2018, the degree was approved by the WCC board. The WCC staff submitted a proposal to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Commission on college of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) and the program was approved in Spring 2019. An articulation agreement between WCC and Virginia Tech is now in place for this new degree. In Summer 2019, WCC hired a curriculum consultant to build a curriculum (Syllabi, Course Website, resources, etc) for this program in anticipation of first courses being offered in Fall 2019. Seven students were enrolled in the program in August 2019. Objective 4: A formal advisory board meeting was not conducted during the 2018-2019 reporting year. Advisory board members were contacted on an individual basis to answer questions and help support the project as needed. Connections between CCHS and local businesses continue to be reinforced through placement of interns.The creation of the AA&S-Science specialization in Food Animal Production at WCC allowed the development of a true agriculture focused pathway to our transfer partner, Virginia Tech. This was crucial to launch the program as it guarantees and ensures transfer pathways for students to viable agriculture programs at Virginia Tech. Overall, project activities in this third year solidified this model program so that it will be in place after the grant period is over. Students at Carroll County High School participated in the internship program and took courses in the biotechnology sequence and the 2-year program at Wytheville Community College was established.

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2019 Citation: Steger, D., Webb, R., Rasco, R., & Scherer, H. H. (2019, June). Connecting STEM and Food Safety Through an Agricultural Biotechnology Program. Poster presented at the 65th Annual conference of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, Twin Falls, ID.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2019 Citation: Webb, R. C. (2019, March/April). Is Our Food Safe? That is the Question Students are Asking. The Agricultural Education Magazine, 91, 24-27.


Progress 09/01/17 to 08/31/18

Outputs
Target Audience:Primary target audiences for this project are secondary and 2-year postsecondary students in rural counties. Secondary audiences include local agricultural employers, high school teachers and counselors, community college staff, and agriculture teacher educators. Changes/Problems:Objective 1: The instructor who was overseeing the internship program has relocated to another school system, so the instructor was replaced. The transition to our new instructor has inhibited the recruiting process for the following school year but has been resolved with training. We have also had to adjust our original plan for primary payment for the students in the internship program. Having employers to begin paying students has been difficult due to insurance issues with employing minors from a High School. The Carroll County School District has committed to funding the internship program in the future. Objective 2: The instructor who was teaching the Pre-Biotechnology course has relocated to another school system. The instructor was replaced and mentored to continue implementing the developed curriculum. Students and instructors evaluated and reflected on the use of the iCEV curricula for future classes. While some of the material was useful, other parts will be revised for the following year to better fit the goals of the project. The approach of a food safety emphasis with a biotechnology component was limiting the growth of students through the three courses. Future courses will be Biotechnology based with a strong emphasis on food safety embedded within each course. Objective 3: During this reporting period, the co-PD from Wytheville Community college left his position at the college, causing the need to get his replacement up to speed on the project and its goals. We have also faced difficulties with scheduling meetings between institutional administration. Because of this difficulty, there has been a natural delay in the output objectives. Additionally, to meet the current needs at WCC, the focus of the certificate program was changed from food safety to agriculture, with agricultural food safety as a component. This change in objectives was approved by USDA-NIFA in Fall 2018. Objective 4: We have not had a advisory board meeting in this reporting period because of the transitions and need to work through challenges. The team has reflected on the purpose of the advisory board, leading to the change in locus to the program at WCC. This purposeful choice will contribute to the long-term stability of the group beyond the life of the grant. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?The staff at Carroll County High School engaged in collaborative work with graduate students at Virginia Tech. These activities led to increased shared knowledge about how structure and to keep a record of the internship program and ideas for how to modify pre-existing labs to foster inquiry-based approaches in Biotechnology courses. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The Biotechnology Teacher presented a discussion program at the Virginia School Board Association annual convention in November 2018. The topic of the presentation was focused on the food safety and the internship program. The presentation shared how this program was preparing students for the workforce and post-secondary education. ? What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Objective 1: Under the leadership of the new instructor, the schoology material for the internship program will continue to be developed and implemented. Site visits will be conducted the following school year and better preparation (orientation) of students will be developed and implemented. We will continue to recruit and enroll students in the internship program for the next reporting period. Objective 2 : The dual credit Biotechnology II curricula will be revised to create a better balance between Agriculture, biotechnology and the Food Safety iCEV material. The staff at CCHS will aim to highlight the natural similarities between the content areas through engaging STEM lessons. The capstone project will continue to be developed to help serve the goals of the project. Objective 3: In October 2018 was proposed the transfer degree and 1 year certification program to the WCC curriculum committee. In November 2018, The 1 year certification program and 2 year associate's degree was approval by WCC board. By early Spring 2018 The WCC staff intends to have a proposal submitted to Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Commission on college of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). The WCC staff plans to hire a curriculum consultant to build a curriculum (Syllabi, Course Website, resources, etc). This course level curriculum development process for Food Science related topics will begin in February 2019 with a estimated completion date by the end of July 31, 2019. Objective 4: The advisory board will be repurposed to serve the new degree program at WCC, with representation from CCHS to maintain connectivity between the two programs. We will update the current advisory board on our progress and continue to gather input as we move forward.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Agriculture is a complex, technologically-driven field that requires skilled workers at all levels who are equipped to use STEM knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems as they arise. An essential component of the agricultural system is food safety but, unfortunately, educational opportunities in this growing field are lagging behind industry interest in the region. Creation of new academic opportunities for secondary students at Carroll County High School and two-year post-secondary students in Southwest Virginia will provide preparation for the agricultural food safety industry at multiple levels of educational attainment. Objective 1: The internship program with an emphasis in the agricultural industry and education field (Objective 1) was continued for the 2017-2018 school year with increased participation at Carroll County High School. The interns were employed by local agricultural related organizations and companies in Carroll County. A flyer was created and promoted to better advertise this program. These flyers were posted around the school and handed out at the time of course registration at the high school. Interviews were conducted with students and employers to evaluate the success and identify problems within the program. A 'schoology' (learning management system) site was created with material to enrich the student's internship experience off the job site, such as interviewing skills and resume building. Six students participated in the internship program. One student participated in the fall semester (2017) , four students in the spring semester (spring 2018) and one student participated all year (fall and spring). Through the internship students gained job-related experience, workplace readiness skills, agriculture knowledge, and networking or "soft" skills. In the focus groups students mentioned that this opportunity allowed them to explore career opportunities in agriculture, develop better communication skills, and problem solve in a real-world setting. Participating employers were able to mentor students and gain assistance with agriculture-related tasks. Employers felt it was a valuable partnership for both the students and themselves. Objective 2: The dual credit Biotechnology II course was offered for the first time this year with nine students enrolled. Course material and a food safety certification was implemented from the iCEV multimedia group. Four students received the American Meat Science Association Food Safety & Science Certification. All students completed a semester long capstone project in which they were given a problem to solve within the field of Biotechnology. At the end of the semester the students hosted a symposium where they presented their projects to the superintendent, administration and even local media which received a lot of positive feedback. All three courses were advertised to incoming students and guidance counselors which resulted in increased enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year. A three-day workshop on food safety and careers was also offered in the Fall of 2017. Eighteen students were enrolled in the three-day program. The three-day intersession immersed students in food safety from the farm to the table. Students traveled to local farms, restaurants, government agencies and food production facilities to explore what was required at each level to maintain a safe food supply. Objective 3: Jacob Surratt and the Administration from WCC worked directly with the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech over the course of this project year to map out a 2 year transfer degree in Agriculture. These efforts, including to formulation of the transfer agreement, were concluded in August 2018 laying the groundwork for moving this new degree through governance. Objective 4: A formal advisory board meeting was not conducted during the 2017-2018 report. Advisory board members were contacted on an individual bases to answer questions and help support the project as needed. Overall, project activities in this second year provided advancements on established success and continued to build a foundation for subsequent years. Students at Carroll County High School participated in the internship program and took courses in the biotechnology sequence, draft programs at Wytheville Community College were established along with developing articulation agreements with Virginia Tech for a transfer degree program, and an advisory board was consulted for advice on the development of the project. In recognition of these efforts, the agricultural education program at Carroll County High School was awarded the 2018 State Workforce Readiness Award for the food safety curriculum developed for the STEM Lab for Agriculture and the Internship Program which was developed as part of this grant.

Publications


    Progress 09/01/16 to 08/31/17

    Outputs
    Target Audience:Primary target audiences for this project are secondary and 2-year postsecondary students in rural counties. Secondary audiences include local agricultural employers, high school teachers and counselors, community college staff, and agriculture teacher educators. Changes/Problems:Objective 1: Student recruitment is a primary challenge to the program, which has resulted in lower than anticipated numbers of interns (2 first year interns in PY1, compared to anticipated 6 interns). This is attributed to scheduling conflicts, transportation issues and student unawareness of the opportunities. CCHS staff have been working with the student services department to promote the internship program and to develop class schedules that will accommodate internship employment. A flyer has been generated to post in the school and to disseminate to potential students. Additional notifications may be sent to parents and students via email and "Parent Connect" messaging. Due to the low numbers, recruitment for second year interns has also been a challenge; this has resulted in a delay in piloting the capstone project to be completed by second year interns. We anticipate having interns in this experience in PY3. Objective 2: This proposal was originally meant to have the courses at CCHS articulate with the Food Safety program that is being developed at WCC. Because the development of the Food Safety program at WCC has been delayed, this has changed this particular goal. Previous agriculture curriculum competencies may also have neglected sufficient food science and food safety components and there has been a lack of approved certifications in this area. New curriculum has recently emerged and certifications approved by the Department of Education. The new focus of this objective is to train students through three sequential food safety biotechnology courses at CCHS and prepare them to take a advanced certification test in Food safety after the completion of Biotechnology II. CCHS staff will be attending the five year curriculum review for Biotechnology in Richmond to have input on curriculum needs and possible changes. The purchase of food safety related iCEV materials and software will also be utilized for new course competencies and certifications. New Food Safety lessons were designed that utilized teaching approaches such as inquiry based education, problem based learning and discovery based learning. These lessons, however, were not implemented because they did not adequately fit the needs of the CCHS teaching staff. Hands-on lessons were already being implemented in current Biotechnology lessons and these were used in lieu of the new inquiry-based lessons. This signals a need for closer collaboration between Virginia Tech's ALCE department and the teachers at CCHS to ensure that lessons meet project goals of engaging students in inquiry-based activities that lead to student gains in scientific process skills and attitudes towards science while meeting the needs of the teachers such that course materials are used. This will be particularly important as iCEV materials are reviewed for use and implemented in Spring 2018. Objective 3: New Policies were recently approved that require all General Studies Specialties and Certificates to be approved by the college, the Virginia Community College System, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. These standards include providing documentation of current employer demand and detailed labor market information. Data on current and projected labor market demand has been difficult to obtain and verify. Until such documentation is found, the program cannot be referred for approval, thus significantly delaying the timeline for establishment and student enrollment in these programs. Original plans were to research established food science programs in Kentucky and California. Staff were unable to secure visitation privileges out west and deferred to the Delaware Technical Community College for this visit. Objective 4: The advisory board was established, but only one meeting was held in PY1 (target was 3). This was due to the delayed start date of the project compared to the proposal and the delay in progress on Objectives 1-3. In lieu of a meeting in Summer 2017, individual advisory board members were consulted for input on specific components of the project. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?The staff at Carroll County High School engaged in collaborative work with graduate students at Virginia Tech. These activities led to increased shared knowledge about how structure and to keep record of the internship program and ideas for how to modify pre-existing labs to foster inquiry-based approaches in Biotechnology courses. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The overall program model and results of evaluation of the internship program and biotechnology courses were shared with agriculture teacher educators and other education researchers at two professional conferences, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and the Water for Food Global Conference. Carroll County High School staff attended workshops at Virginia Tech (Virginia STEM Summit), in South Hill (Southern Virginia New Economic Summit) and in Richmond (Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, 2017 Award Recipient) to share information about the program with secondary education stakeholders. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Objective 1: Two students are currently enrolled in the Agriculture Internship Program for Fall 2017. Both students are seniors and plan to participate in the Spring 2018 semester before graduating. There are two other students who have also expressed interest in becoming an intern this Spring. Student recruitment is a primary challenge to the program, therefore, the Agriculture Department will be working with the student services department to promote the internship program. Flyers will be posted in school and presentations shown to potential students. Additional notifications may be sent to parents and students via email and "Parent Connect" messaging. The program will be promoted year round with special effort made during club meetings, parent conferences, career fairs, and prior to class scheduling. Within this next reporting period, we also plan to continue improvement of the internship program model by implementing additional components such as student presentations and orientation group trainings. We also intend to establish guidelines for the capstone project to be completed by students in their second year of the internship program. Objective 2: CCHS staff will be attending the Virginia Department of Education five year curriculum review for Biotechnology in November 2017 to have input on curriculum needs and possible changes. The purchase of iCEV materials and software will also be utilized for new course competencies and should be in place for the start of the 2018 Spring semester. Implementation of these materials will be supported by such activities as: gathering additional materials as needed, aligning Food safety competencies with existing Biotechnology competencies, putting existing lessons into the context of the new food safety certification requirements for Pre-Biotech, Biotech I , Biotech II. Certification testing in food safety & science will be primarily for students in the dual credit Biotechnology II class and will be available at the end of the 2018 school year and continuously thereafter. Certification testing will be purchased based on student requests and purchased with Carroll County High School testing funds. Additionally, we will explore options for implementing a semester-long scientific inquiry-based project in Biotechnology II that integrates background from Food Safety lessons learned in Pre-Biotech and Biotech I. Objective 3: While the Degree and Certificate exist in draft form, all new program offerings must be approved internally and by external bodies. The status of the overall degree completion is dependent upon identifying necessary research and documentation that supports the new program creation to present to approval bodies. Efforts this reporting period will focus on these efforts, including collecting local survey data about local employment demand, obtaining a significant amount of employer letters of support, and identifying regional and national data trends. These activities are expected to be completed by February 15, 2018. Pending final approval of program design, a Food Science Expert will be sought to help develop the curriculum that is in draft form. The course level curriculum development process for Food Science related topics will begin in February 2018 with an anticipated completion date by the end of May 2018. Objective 4: We will continue to hold advisory board meetings this reporting period to update members on our progress and gather input as we move forward.

    Impacts
    What was accomplished under these goals? Agriculture is a complex, technologically-driven field that requires skilled workers at all levels who are equipped to use STEM knowledge and skills to solve real world problems as they arise. An essential component of the agricultural system is food safety but, unfortunately, educational opportunities in this growing field are lagging behind industry interest in the region. Creation of new academic opportunities for secondary students at Carroll County High School and two-year post-secondary students in Southwest Virginia will provide preparation for the agricultural food safety industry at multiple levels of educational attainment. An internship program (Objective 1) with emphasis in the agricultural industry and education field was implemented for two consecutive semesters, Fall 2016-Spring 2017, at Carroll County High School. The third consecutive semester, Fall 2017, is underway. The interns were and are currently employed by local agricultural related organizations and companies in Carroll County. The internship program allows students to work with more than one employer. One of the two students from 2016-2017 rotated between two local employers, an agricultural youth program and an agricultural packing service. A focus group interview revealed that students gained job related experience, workplace readiness skills, agriculture knowledge and networking or "soft" skills and that they received mentoring from employers in these areas. The interns both felt that they were introduced to a work environment that they did not know of before. Both interns did not realize the amount of customer service skills that were required to perform well at work. In all the interns are gaining the experience of working within the agricultural industry and discipline, gaining knowledge on professionalism and the various careers associated with agricultural practices and production. This exposure increased their career aspirations and networks. Additionally, a literature review manuscript describing the best practices of an internship program was drafted and utilized to develop a structure and resources to guide marketing, application, orientation, and learning activities. Curricula for the Agriculture Biology (pre-Biotechnology), Biotechnology I and Biotechnology II courses at Carroll County High School (Objective 2) have been developed, including articulation of the sequenced pathway and alignment with state course competencies. These courses have been included in the schools Programs of Study Publication and one has gained approval to be taught as a dual credit course for the first time in 2018. A collection of 40+ existing lesson plans and 12 original, inquiry-based lessons that incorporate food safety into the classroom biotechnology program was developed. Despite these efforts, a significant need for food safety curriculum that leads to an opportunity for students to earn a food safety certification was identified and research determined that education materials available through the iCEV multimedia group met this need for the local program. Carroll County High School Staff meet with a representative from iCEV media to discuss curriculum content, certification testing and pricing. A quote has been secured and purchase orders have been submitted to secure educational software for the 3 Biotechnology courses. The program also offered a three day mini-course with a focus on food safety that was held during an educational enrichment intersession. Students spent three days traveling to farms, businesses, restaurants, and food production facilities to explore food safety and the requirement of each to maintain a safe food supply. The students also were able to do a bacterial culture during this mini-course in the STEM Lab. A focus group interview with students in the introductory (pre-biotechnology) course revealed that they appreciated the applied nature of the course and the opportunity to apply basic science knowledge to food-related topics in an in-depth manner. They expressed a desire for hands-on, student-centered courses. Staff from Carroll County High School, including teachers, CTE administrator and STEM Lab manager traveled to Delaware Technical Community College on April 12, 2017. The group, accompanied by the Dean of Health and Occupational Programs from WCC, toured the college's food safety lab and met with personnel to discuss curriculum requirements and objectives for their established Food Science Program. Draft versions of the 1 Year Certificate Program and 2 Year Associate's Degree Program (Objective 3) were created, but not approved at the state or local level for delivery, and preliminary discussions about potential articulation agreements took place. An advisory board (Objective 4) was established with representatives from local industry, cooperative extension, and the land-grant university. An initial meeting was held in which advisory board members provided input on project goals and objectives. Following this meeting, individual advisory board members were contacted for input on specific project activities based on their expertise. A baseline survey to determine existing cooperative linkages amongst advisory board members was developed and implemented. Overall, project activities in this initial year provide a foundation on which to build in subsequent years. Students at Carroll County High School participated in the internship program and took courses in the biotechnology sequence, draft programs at Wytheville Community College were developed, and an advisory board was established.

    Publications

    • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Scherer, H. H., Brown, A., Steger, D., Edwards, J., Rasco, R., Huff, C. D., & Webb, R. (2017, June). Building a Model Experiential-based Agricultural Food Safety Program. Poster presented at the 63rd Annual conference of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, West Lafayette, Indiana.
    • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Scherer, H. H., Brown, A., Steger, D., Edwards, J., Rasco, R., Huff, C. D., & Webb, R. (2017, April). Building a Model Experiential-based Agricultural Food Safety Program. Paper presented at the Food, Energy & Water Education Symposium, Water for Food Global Conference, Lincoln, Nebraska.