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A challenge –based course on global food security by Institute on the Environment Director Jon Foley The course focused on one of the biggest challenges.

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Presentation on theme: "A challenge –based course on global food security by Institute on the Environment Director Jon Foley The course focused on one of the biggest challenges."— Presentation transcript:

1 A challenge –based course on global food security by Institute on the Environment Director Jon Foley The course focused on one of the biggest challenges of our day: providing nourishment for every human in the world while sustaining the planet. HCOL 3803H/SUST 3480 examined the fundamental changes in our civilization, the global environment, and the global food system that are happening in the 21 st century, seeking answers to the question, “Can we feed the world without destroying it?” It was taught by world-renown climate scientist and Director of the Institute on the Environment, Jon Foley. THE COURSE THE STUDENTS The 56 students in HCOL 3803H/SUST 3480 were mostly seniors representing a very broad range of disciplines and experience, including 26 majors across seven colleges. The majority of the students were part of the University Honors Program. THE OUTCOMES 97% of students said they had a deeper understanding of the subject matter as a result of the course. Students were better prepared to accept challenges and devise solutions in the real world. The course was so popular that there was a significant waiting list to participate. Key lessons the course administrators learned include: Exposure to professional leaders improved student engagement; The need to interact with experts from outside the class heightened students’ expectations for their work If you challenge students, they will rise to the occasion: Students repeatedly noted that the course was one of the more difficult they’d taken, but also rated the course as highly valuable. THE CHALLENGE CRASH COURSE LECTURES AND LABS PROFESSIONAL PANELS Lectures provided intensive surveys driven by a problem, not a subject. Providing a foundation for the rest of the course, the problems were characterized by three patterns of change – our changing civilization, our changing planet, and our changing food system- leading students to understand the nexus of these patterns as the grand challenge. Labs introduced student teams to trans-disciplinary skills necessary for understanding or acting upon food systems issues, with instructors acting as coaches. Student-led panels provided intensive exposure to professional leaders working on key problems, adding an unusually frank perspective on both opportunities and challenges associated with solutions. Panelists included experts from across the state from companies, NGOs, foundations, government, and academia. Students were fully responsible for working with these leaders, including research on readings to prepare the class, contacting panelists in advance, selecting questions, moderating the panel, and facilitating a class debrief afterward. Students were required to devise a viable solutions project that would change the outlook on food in an area of their choice. Each solution was presented to an external panel of judges, supported by a written proposal to a real-world entity in the form of a policy brief, business plan, or grant proposal. Students were encouraged to make connections with panelists and judges to continue their ventures outside of the course. “[Jon] made information relatable and applicable, and personally inspired each of us to use the skills we learned here in the future. He made every minute of class intentional, worthwhile, and useful. GREAT professor.” “Dr. Foley is truly an incredible presenter.” “Great lecture presentations. They were engaging and immediately dove into the heart of the issue or problem.” “This was a rare opportunity.” “The Instructor provided real world examples as part of class and kept students engaged during the entire class.” “I was really interested in (and excited for) this class and you guys did not disappoint.” Presenter Travel Sponsored by Dominique Boczek |


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