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ALEC Spring 2016 Newsletter

  • Four Towers Times — Spring 2016 Newsletter
    Four Towers Times — Spring 2016 Newsletter
  • Study Abroad: Romania 2016
    Study Abroad: Romania 2016
  • Study Abroad: Romania 2016
    Study Abroad: Romania 2016
  • Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
    Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
  • Study Abroad: Romania 2016
    Study Abroad: Romania 2016
  • Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
    Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
  • Study Abroad: Argentina 2016
    Study Abroad: Argentina 2016
  • Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
    Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
  • Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
    Study Abroad: Scotland 2016
  • Dr. Maria Navarro - Reflections on Fighting Hunger
    Dr. Maria Navarro - Reflections on Fighting Hunger

Four Towers Times — Spring 2016
Internationalizing the ALEC Curriculum

Spring semester offers many new and exciting opportunities for ALEC students! We constantly focus on providing students with opportunities to ensure their career-readiness and overall success in life.  One way of doing this is by internationalizing the ALEC curriculum.  This newsletter is dedicated to global explorations.  As the world grows smaller, alumni thrive when they have access to a variety of opportunities to better understand global cultures.  Dr. Borron, Dr. Duncan, and Dr. Fuhrman developed the first two Study Abroad opportunities specifically designed to address emerging issues in Agricultural Communication (Romania) and Agricultural Education (Scotland).  We hope you enjoy learning more about ALEC’s efforts to internationalize the curriculum - Kay Kelsey, Department Head

ALEC Courses that Focus on Fighting Hunger

“Internationalization can occur by giving students a global mind set.  It happens on campus, within courses, through student organizations, through interactions with people from other nations, and by studying abroad” - Dr. Navarro.  Dr. Navarro offers two courses, ALDR 3820 Reflections on Fighting Hunger and ALDR 4710/6710 International Agriculture Development, where students apply what they learn about the globalization at home.  Students can take these courses either as electives or as requirements for completing the Certificate of International Agriculture. Dr. Dennis Duncan’s ALDR 4600/6600 Global Seminar: Environment and Sustainable Systems course offers students the opportunity to examine, discuss, and formulate positions on sustainability issues concerning the environment and food systems through case studies. The Global Seminar is offered in partnership with several institutions in the southeast and Europe. Students from six universities gather monthly using online technology to exchange ideas about food, environmental, and social sustainability issues.

ALEC Creates Two New Study Abroad Programs for AGCM and AGED Students

ALEC created two study abroad programs specifically for ALEC students: ALDR 3800S and ALDR 3810S Scotland Service-Learning Project: Addressing Food Insecurity Issues and AGCM 4310S Romania: Culture-Centered Communication and Engagement. "The most valuable aspects of internationalization is what mind set the student develops, how the student grows, and what the student wants to accomplish” in regard to promoting food, environmental, and social sustainability globally according to Dr. Navarro.

Study Abroad to Scotland

Scotland Study Abroad will take place during Spring Break from March 4-12, 2016.  Dr. Nick Fuhrman and Dr. Dennis Duncan lead students to “gain perspective on food insecurity through local and global lenses.”  The group will focus on sustainability and food insecurity internationally while working with Troqueer Primary School and the First Base Food Bank in Dumfries, Scotland.  Students focus on local food insecurity issues by working with UGA’s Campus Kitchen and comparing situations in Athens to those in Dumfries. The University of Glasgow, Dumfries was selected because it is interdisciplinary, safe, and there are few language barriers.

According to Dr. Duncan, Troqueer Primary School has a “strong environmental perspective.” Students will work with elementary children who are leading in their communities by serving as committee chairs of the school’s environmental board.  Dr. Fuhrman stated that he was very impressed with the primary school children because “5 year olds are doing what middle and high school students do in the United States.”  He hopes that with this trip students will think of food issues at home, how the Scottish people address issues, and come home with an open mind about sustainability.  Dr. Fuhrman hopes students will appreciate “what ALEC does to promote food sustainability.”  Dr. Duncan stated that this trip will “give an avenue for current and future collaborations on research” for students, the department, and the university.  It will be a gateway for American and Scottish students to “share their gifts and talents with others across the globe.”

Study Abroad to Romania

Dr. Abigail Borron leads the study abroad to Romania. During this program, students will travel to Romania during the Maymester term where they will integrate applied communication practices with a honeybee and dairy project. The group is set to arrive in Cluj-Napoca where Heifer International is headquartered. Working with Heifer Romania, students will not only gain a better understanding of the agricultural-based needs at the local level, but also consider how to utilize their communication skills cross-culturally.

Through the two projects, students will work with the local producers (who are also beneficiaries of the Heifer projects) to develop marketing materials and written stories regarding the producer experiences as a beneficiary. According to Dr. Borron, Heifer Romania is looking to "boost their marketing efforts of locally-produced honey products throughout the European Union, not just within Romania, and they’d like input from agricultural communication students on new and novel approaches to do so.”

Dr. Borron stated that students will stay with host families in the two project communities and will be able to see the project beehives and dairy farms, work with the families, and follow the honey and milk onto the local processing facilities. After leaving the dairy project community in southern Romania, the students will then travel to the capital city of Bucharest to tour the Danone manufacturing facility, where the collected milk is then used to produce yogurt products. “As students develop communication-based materials for Heifer Romania, it is important they also have the opportunity to see the full product chain in action, specifically as it relates to the cultural landscape that is Romania,” Borron said.

Six agricultural communication students and one graduate student will participate in the program, leaving May 16 and returning on May 30, 2016. While taking part of a lot of work while traveling, students will also have an opportunity to experience and see the rich culture and history of Romania, visiting the medieval city of Sighisoara and touring Dracula’s castle in the city of Bran.

Dr. Borron hopes students will “have a broader perspective globally, as well as understanding the role as a civic leader in their profession.” She also stated that students will “see the ways they can be a part of a change-process, and how they can help make a difference while at the same time very much respecting, valuing and sustaining the local story and the local individuals who make all of this worthwhile.”

We are very excited for our students, Dr. Duncan, Dr. Fuhrman, and Dr. Borron as they embark on their trips. We cannot wait to hear about their experiences and see lessons learned from abroad implemented at home!

Internationalizing Home Away from Home

Mr. Hugo Alexander (Alex) Moran, Master of Agricultural and Environmental Education (MAEE) student is one of the first international students admitted into ALEC.  Alex is from El Salvador and is passionate about agriculture.  “My father is currently a small farmer and my grandfather was also before he passed so I looked at agriculture as my chosen career.”  Alex has connected well with ALEC's mission “to educate people, teaching, and making sure that others succeed.”   When he first visited UGA and met with Dr. Kelsey, he knew that ALEC would become his new home. Alex “wants to help my country, family, and there is a need for talent in Ag Education back home. There is a lack of leadership, there is a lack of resources, and there is a lack of people that can help improve agricultural systems.”  Alex plans to implement the skills, experience, and education gained from the MAEE curriculum in El Salvador for the benefit of improving his country.

Alex stated that life at UGA is “like a dream come true because UGA has opened many doors.  My ALEC family believes in me, and I can accomplish my goals and have an impact on others.”  Alex appreciates the small and friendly environment, and the openness of the professors and their willingness to help.  Alex is a member of the Graduate Student Association and has published his research at several conferences, including the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture conference.  He stated that his favorite experience of being an ALEC student were at “conferences, meeting people, and submitting papers.”  Alex plans to work for a few years and then seek a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education.

Faculty Focus

Dr. Frank B. Flanders was presented the National VIP Citation by the National FFA Organization in 2015 and was recognized by the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association for 40 years of service to Agricultural Education. When speaking to Dr. Flanders about his experiences in Agriculture Education, it is clear that he has a love and passion for the profession. He is the ninth generation of his family to be involved in American agriculture. Dr. Flanders began his teaching career in 1975 at Coosa Valley Vocational High School, Rome GA. After serving six years as an agriculture teacher, he returned to UGA as an Instructor for Special Programs, specializing in horticulture. In 1996 the Agriculture Education Program in Georgia was reorganized, and Dr. Flanders was named the State Curriculum Director for AgEd. In 2007 he was selected to lead curriculum development for all programs in Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE). In 2010, Dr. Flanders returned to the classroom, teaching courses at UGA in teacher preparation in the ALEC Department. Before 2010 he “taught workshops for teachers, helped with UGA classes, worked with special programs and lead development and revision of the curriculum.”

Dr. Flanders started both the Farm Business Management and the Floral Design Career Development Events for FFA students. In 1996-1997, he led the development and publication of the first AgEd curriculum CD. With the curriculum CD, for the first time, teachers were able to “easily access curriculum materials in an electronic format”. AgEd has always been “on the cutting edge” of program development and was the first to develop state-wide curriculum materials to this degree in electronic format. “People may have forgotten about the CDs, but they were a first!” he proudly states with a laugh.

Dr. Flanders has received multiple awards and recognition during his career. He was named UGA Outstanding Faculty Advisor for 2014-2015, presented the National Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in 1999 by the National Professional Fraternity Association, and the Outstanding Presentation Award at the Southern Region Research Conference. He has received the Outstanding Georgia FFA Alumni Member Award, the Teacher of Teachers Award, recognition for Outstanding Leadership and Service to the Department of Education, and the Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Service Awards from Kappa Delta Epsilon. He served as advisor for the UGA College Education Honor Society, KDE, for many years and currently serves as faculty advisor for the UGA Collegiate FFA. Dr. Flanders is the author of two textbooks used in agriculture classes nationwide: Exploring Animal Science and Modern Livestock & Poultry Production.

Newsletter stories written by Jaky Cervantes, AGED major.