Here is summary information; for a portfolio of work including related posts, see the author link at right.
Here is an abstract of the project, and a location map below.
This research capstone acknowledges and examines the role of higher education in making large scale changes to global/local issues such as the inevitable externalities of the United States’ conventional agricultural system. It utilizes a framework built from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide to analyze sustainable agricultural systems and their application within undergraduate higher education institutions. This situated case study explores the possibilities for higher education to alter agricultural systems through a deeper dive into the curricula and pedagogy at Oregon State University's Agricultural Sciences College. In this case study, I conduct a core curriculum analysis against the SDG ideals, along with in-depth interviews and surveys with an OSU professor, current students studying in the agriculture department and alumni who have gone to work within the agricultural sector. The findings showcase some discrepancies between OSU's and the SDG's understandings of sustainable agriculture and what material ought to be taught. This research also uncovers that while both curricula content and pedagogy are significant to learning, the influential power of higher education in shifting student career paths and mindsets, ultimately stems from professor pedagogy and classroom culture.
Framing and focus questions
The ENVS capstone is defined by key questions. Following our situated approach to interdisciplinary environmental research, these include a broad framing question that serves as general motivation for this capstone project, and a specific focus question that defines the project’s research agenda. The framing and focus questions for this capstone are below.
Framing question: How can higher education act as a means to alter conventional agricultural systems?
Focus question: To what extent does OSU's Agricultural Sciences College shape the ways in which alumni and students approach agriculture?
Depending on its type, the ENVS thesis results in a variety of outcomes, including a thesis (an extended scholarly manuscript), or a variety of non-thesis outcomes. Below is information on this capstone type, with links at bottom to all outcomes.
Type of capstone: Thesis (regular)