Progress 04/15/20 to 04/14/21
Target Audience:The audience for the activities under this planning grant included the Penn State faculty members, four graduate students, and representatives from partner NGOs. The partner NGOs included represenatives from Oxfam, CARE USA, MEDA, World Vision, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), and several CGIAR research centers (CIAT, World Fish, and IFPRI). Changes/Problems:Due to the pandemic, the workshop was changed from an in-person to virtual format, with approval from NIFA. The virtual approach to the workshop was successful, and likely increased overall participation by allowing NGO partners to join easily from various locations around the world. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Please see detailed description of our workshop in the box above, which summarizes the content of our workshop and the specific training and professional development for faculty, students, and NGO partners that were provided. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Subsequent to the workshop, email communications were sent to participating partners to demonstrate appreciation for their participation and confirm our intention to apply for the CG2 program. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?
What was accomplished under these goals?
The overarching goal of this project was to host a virtual proposal planning workshop with Penn State faculty, students, and NGO partners from around the world. The proposal we worked towards will be titled "Internships for Gender Equity in Agriculture" and will offer opportunities for Penn State upper-level undergraduate and graduate students to work as interns for leading global NGOs in the field of Gender and Agricultural Development. The workshop prepared us to submit a Collaborative Grant Type 2 proposal to USDA NIFA HEC in spring 2022. This planning workshop had impact on Penn State faculty, students, and NGO representatives, who received trainings in student leadership, designing learning objectives, developing strategies for diversity in recruiting, and assessing student experiential learning programs. Objective 1: Develop learning objectives and content related to gender and agriculture for the weeklong student workshop. To achieve this objective, a session was offered during the workshop by Dr. Melanie Miller Foster titled "Designing student learning objectives". During this interactive session, participants heard a technical presentation about how to design student learning objectives, and reflected individually and collectively on best and worst practices in internship programs we have participated in. To conclude the session, we generated a list of possible learning objectives that were recorded in the final workshop report and will be considered for inclusion in the CG2 proposal. Objective 2: Develop plans for designing and assessing the utility of student internships to our partner organizations. AND Objective 4: Receive professional workshops on evaluating experiential learning. To achieve these two objectives, a session was offered by Dr. Noel Habashy titled "Putting it all together: Building a model to evaluate the internship program". The purpose of this session was to identify possible objectives for the internship program for both participating students and NGO partners, and to identify preferred assssment methods for evaluation of both sets of objectives. During this session, participants heard a technical presentation about the "SOFAR" framework for assessing the impacts of experiential learning on various stakeholders in projects. Participants discussed different quantitative and qualitative evaluation tools and their feasibility for evaluating both NGO and student objectives. We concluded that a mixed methods approach with significant attention to reflective journalling will be the most meaningful way to evaluate student learning while simultaneously strengthening relationships between students and mentors. We also concluded that an outside evaluator should be hired to properly evaluate impacts and perceptions of NGO partners to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Objective 3: Receive professional workshops on student leadership development. A workshop was provided by Dr. Kristen Goessling at Penn State Brandywine titled "Youth leadership: Development by design". Participants received a technical presentation about the global youth leadership movement, Hart's 'Ladder of Participation', and reflected collectively on the qualities and skills of leaders we admire. Participants acquired new knowledge about steps we need to take in the full proposal and internship program to achieve what Hart calls a "youth initiated and directed" approach to our internship program. Objective 5: Develop a strategy to recruit students traditionally under-represented in the FANH Sciences. To achieve this objective, the workshop included a session titled "Developing a strategy for diversity in student intern recruiting" led by Derek James, Coordinator for Multicultural Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. Mr. James provided a technical presentation covering the benefits of diversity in recruiting, data on diversity among the Penn State student body, unconscious bias, and provided specific resources, organizations, and strategies we may utilize in partnership with his office to ensure the proposed internship program is racially diverse. A post-workshop evaluation survey was sent to participating Penn State faculty members. They were asked what they learned that could contribute to the success of the program through a qualitative questionnaire. Responses indicated that faculty members enhanced their learning of the work of partner NGOs as well as their needs and interests in the internship program, and that they learned how to develop measurable objectives and to promote diversity in their recruiting strategy. The survey also asked for faculty to evaluate the session on program assessment. Their responses indicated that they were able to improve their understanding of the rigor needed and importance of planning assessment methods from the earliest stages of a project. They indicated an improved understanding of the difference between assessing overall program goals and specific student learning objectives.