Vermont Tech launches agriculture and food systems curriculum transformation process

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Vermont Tech launches agriculture and food systems curriculum transformation process

Fri, 06/12/2020 - 10:00am -- tim

A Vermont Tech student cares for a young dairy cow

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Technical College is embarking on an exciting collaborative process to assist in the development of a plan to transform its agriculture and food systems educational programming. The nine-month re-visioning and transformational process, led by a volunteer steering committee, will develop a business plan for the operations and delivery of experiential education. The Steering Committee seeks to identify the unique set of programs, curriculum and learning environments for the college to meet the current and future needs of Vermont agriculture and food systems.

President Patricia Moulton charged a Steering Committee with the task of a complete review and prioritization of agriculture programs and resources at the college. The all-volunteer group is co-led by Regina Beidler and Louise Calderwood. "Co-Chairs Regina and Louise both possess strong facilitation, process and leadership skills, as well as deep experience and expertise in agriculture, food systems, and education," noted President Moulton. "I am very grateful for their input and humbled by their willingness to volunteer their time on behalf of Vermont Tech's legacy programs."

"Our goal is to engender a strong sense of confidence in the process," said Regina Beidler, a co-chair of the newly formed Steering Committee. Beidler is the Member Program Specialist at Organic Valley and co-owner of Beidler Family Farm in Randolph Center, VT. Ms. Beidler's co-chair, Louise Calderwood, is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for the American Feed Industry Association and former Deputy Secretary for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Calderwood noted, "Our chief task is to provide guidance and support for the entire process, ensuring clear and regular communication with stakeholder and process participants." To that end, the 11-person steering committee will meet monthly while the four work teams will meet more frequently within their subject-matter expertise. The teams include: Program Model Development, Culture and Curriculum, Business Case, and Communication and Outreach.

Ellen Kahler, executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, which also administers Vermont Farm to Plate, will lend her expertise in facilitation and food system development to this process. "Ellen's knowledge and connections across Vermont's food system, as well as her past work with Vermont Tech, brings additional knowledge and expertise to the effort," commented President Moulton.

While the 10-15 person teams will largely include external representatives, Vermont Tech faculty and staff will also serve on the Steering Committee and each breakout work team.

About Vermont Tech - Vermont Technical College is a leading public college with a mission of applied education and student-centeredness. One of the four institutions of the Vermont State Colleges System, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England, and beyond at its residential campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, regional campuses in Brattleboro and Bennington, and at six nursing sites located throughout the state. Vermont Tech features state-of-the-art laboratory experience and a highly personalized classroom and student-life experience. All of our programs utilize a technological educational component, from the simulators used by our nursing program around the state, to manufacturing laboratories in Randolph Center and Williston. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering technology, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to producing the knowledgeable workers needed most by employers in the state and in the region.

Source: RANDOLPH CENTER, VT (06/11/2020)