The proposed project is comprised of both Educational and Outreach components designed to enhance food systems education and food business managerial acumen in New York State. Specifically, we seek to design and implement a Bachelors of Technology degree program in Food Systems and Technology at SUNY Cobleskill and a related sequence of extended learning courses offered to the region's agricultural producers. The curriculum will be characterized by interdisciplinary breath, systems thinking, experiential learning, versatility and responsiveness to demand from the local, regional and national economies. Development of this curriculum will ultimately lead to expanded career opportunities for our undergraduate students and will serve as a promotional centerpiece for the institution. To ensure that the curriculum develops over time to best serve students and
meet the demands of the local, regional and national food systems, critical feedback from a formal advisory committee comprised of these industry partners and others will continually be integrated into the experiences offered through the program. After a two-year development and piloting phase, the new degree program and related outreach programming will be marketed through a variety of means. Throughout the process and as part of ongoing campus improvements, capital investments in dairy processing equipment and a SUNY Cobleskill retail facility will be made to create valuable experiential learning opportunities in food systems. The measurable impacts of creating a baccalaureate degree program in Food Systems & Technology include student enrollment in the program, a notable increase in the number of mutually beneficial industry relationships for SUNY Cobleskill, enhanced economic viability of agricultural producers and other food-related businesses throughout the geographic region and improved employment outcomes for students that can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. Portions of the Food Systems curriculum will be adapted for use in extended learning program applications for regional professionals engaged in food and agricultural production. Courses will specifically cover management strategies for value-added food production. Dairy processing and commercial kitchen facilities on campus will be used to teach the fundamentals of product development, budgeting, marketing and market panel assessment. Multicultural workforce programming including industry-specific Spanish language training will be designed as a component of these outreach offerings. Further, a "Food Systems Regulation" undergraduate course being designed as part of the proposed degree program will be modified for a professional audience and included in the extended learning programming. The overall impact of providing food systems programming for professional audiences will be measured, first, by program enrollment. Second, program participants will be asked to report on management changes, new products or enhanced marketing opportunities that result from the skills learned so that accurate measures of the program's economic impact on the regional food system can be obtained.
<p>NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:<br/> The forces that have resurfaced the landscape of the overall economy in recent years have undoubtedly impacted the nature and needs of the agricultural complex and the larger food system. Actors in the food system are now more than ever called upon to respond to concerns over environmental degradation, food safety, resource scarcity and national security. All of these concerns, among others, have manifested in changes in consumer preferences for food and food production processes. It is also clear that American agricultural producers will, quite simply, be asked to produce more of everything. As many engaged in the production of food commodities can attest, the demands of an increasingly open and wealthy world economy mean economic opportunity but also new pressures for efficiency and productivity. Industries already characterized by complex
supply chains that are not well coordinated will undoubtedly become even more complicated and will require creation of novel product and service offerings delivered through new value chain paradigms The agricultural education system will play an increasingly crucial role in promoting broad-based economic growth and shepherding necessary food system adaptation by producing a well-trained workforce that can address mounting complexities with innovation. Food systems education is, by its nature, multidisciplinary since the path of raw commodities from field to end-user intersects with our stock of natural resources, policy making and public health. The design and implementation of a food system surely impacts diet, risk of food borne illness, economic development, business viability, air and water quality and the capacity of resources to feed and fuel growing populations. The nation's
agricultural and technical colleges must design and offer curricula that yield systems-minded, well-rounded professionals prepared for the demands of a globally critical and ever more dynamic food economy. To that end, faculty, staff and administrators at the State University of New York's College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill) have engaged in an institutional reprioritization process that will drastically increase the College's resource commitment to programs in agricultural production, technology and management. In the current proposal, we seek to design and implement a Bachelors of Technology degree program in Food Systems and Technology at SUNY Cobleskill. The proposed curriculum will prepare baccalaureate students to successfully contribute to the "creative economy" and be leaders in the development of solutions to globally-important problems. Further,
outreach programming based loosely upon courses developed for the aforementioned baccalaureate program will be designed for delivery to professional audiences with the objective of improving food business managerial acumen and contributing to enhanced profitability in the geographic region. Grant funds will be used to support SUNY Cobleskill faculty from a variety of disciplines in designing and piloting educational and outreach programming and building critical partnerships with industry stakeholders.
<p>APPROACH:<br/> The curricular program development and piloting tasks for the Education and Outreach Program Categories will take place over the course of two years and will be overseen by the Principal Investigator. All participating faculty from Agricultural Business, Culinary Arts, Foreign Language and Agricultural Engineering will be provided summer or regular semester support through grant funds to collaboratively source and develop course material and to forge requisite relationships with industry partners. Most new courses developed in project year one for the baccalaureate Food Systems program will be piloted in project year two as elective courses open to all undergraduate majors. The remaining will be piloted in project year three after improvements to campus facilities are completed, including installation of in-hand dairy processing equipment, acquisition and
installation of cheese making equipment and refurbishment of an existing campus facility to serve as SUNY Cobleskill retail space. During year two, all necessary approval from the State University of New York's central administration will be secured so that the inaugural semester of the formal degree program can occur in the fall semester of project year three. For the Outreach Program Category, programming materials will be developed by faculty from the aforementioned disciplines during project year two and the resulting extended learning courses will be piloted free-of-charge in project year three. Feedback from participating professionals will be integrated into program offerings thereafter so that the final fee-based outreach services can be launched in the following year. Dr. Anne Rogan will serve as Internal Project Evaluator and Dr. Amy Guptill, a food systems expert, will serve
as the project's External Evaluator. Evaluators will be charged with assessing formal student and outreach participant evaluations and regularly delivering evaluation findings to participating faculty. Further, an advisory committee made up of industry partners and other stakeholders will be formed during project year one and will formally convene for regular planning and development meetings beginning in the summer of year one. Throughout the three-year life of the project and beyond, the committee's role will be to ensure that the degree program in Food Systems and Technology and the outreach programming are truly serving the needs of the marketplace and conforming to the strategic plan of the College. Beginning in project year three, marketing efforts for both the Education and Outreach Program Category initiatives will commence and consist of development of web-based and hard copy
materials, professionally-produced digital video for use as internet and television media and launching of a Food Systems Speaker Series. The Speaker Series will comprise three to five acclaimed food professionals scheduled during project year three to give on-campus presentations of their perspectives on current and future global food system challenges.
<p>PROGRESS: 2012/09 TO 2013/08<br/>Target Audience: During Grant Year I, the project team fully developed four novel undergraduate courses in Food System Regulation, Applied Food Science, Food Processing Technology and Value Added Production & Marketing that will ultimately comprise cores of the forthcoming Bachelors of Technology degree program in Food Systems & Technology at the State University of New York's College of Agriculture and Technology, Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill). Development work for all courses included identifcation of existingrelevant course materials, writing and organization ofnovel materials, course schedule design and identifcation of external industry partners to serve as external course laboratories. Further, PI Evans completed grant proposals to the Appalachian Regional Commission and to the State University of New York (State of
New York) that will leverage NIFA funds to initiate capital projects on campus (agricultural retail facility and dairy processing facility) in support of the forthcoming degree program (one of the aforementioned grants was awarded; the other is in review). Preliminary degree marketing efforts, targeted to existing SUNY Cobleskill students, prospective SUNY Cobleskill students attending SUNY Cobleskill "open house" events and high school students within the Northeast region have begun. Ultimately, the audience for the Food Systems & Technology degree program will not only include undergraduate students but also industry professionals throughout the region who will partner with program students on product development, marketing and retail pilot projects. Changes/Problems: No major challenges have been encountered to this point. What opportunities for training and professional
development has the project provided? Principal Investigator Evans and other project team members (faculty) have conducted several on-campus meetings during Grant Year I with food system professionals in an effort to make all forthcoming program courses responsive to market demands and relevant to current employer needs in the system. These meetings have proved valuable opportunities for the project team to learn about modern technologies and management strategies critical to the modern food system. Further, PI Evans and other team members attended two culinary-focused conferences in Fall, 2013 (the James Beard Food Conference in NYC and the Basque Culinary Council's International Advisory Board Meeting in Sleepy Hollow, NY) for insight into contemporary issues in food culture and food establsihment management. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? As
stated above, the courses developed in Grant Year I for the Food Systems & Technology degree program will be piloted in Spring, 2014 and as of November 20, 2013, all courses have achieved maximum enrollment. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? In Grant Year II, all additional novel courses proposed for the Food Systems & Technology degree program will be developed along with three industry-relevant extermal for-fee programs (to be developed Summer, 2014) focused on Spanish language training for agricultural/food system professionals, Food System Regulation training and Value-Added Product Marketing training. Further, additional funds from other grating agencies(and privatesponsors) will be sought to complete renovation of theagriculturalretail facility and the dairy processing infrastructure. In January, 2014, allinternal application
materials for launch of the Food Systems & Technology degree program at SUNY Cobleskill will be submitted to the College's Curriculum Committee. At the same time,application materials to be submitted to NY State will also be completed and forwarded toSUNY and the State Department of Education.