UF/IFAS CALS professors receive funding for innovative teaching projects

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Recognized for their excellence both inside and outside of the classroom, faculty within the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) are known for providing unique learning opportunities for their students. Now, five UF/IFAS CALS faculty have received national recognition for their engaging course designs.

Innovative Teaching Awards given by the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Board of Agriculture Assembly, Academic Programs Section (APS) will aid the faculty members in expanding creative learning experiences for their students. Each year, APS funds five proposals submitted by professors around the country to support learning opportunities and collaborative partnerships across at least two academic institutions. Since the award’s inception in 2014, UF faculty have been part of two winning proposals each year. Out of the five awards this year, UF/IFAS faculty within CALS won three.

“Collaboration is one of the core values of CALS, and we are proud to represent UF in partnerships with other collegiate institutions around the country,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “One of our top priorities as a college is to promote excellence in teaching and by encouraging our faculty to collaborate creatively with others, we improve the learning experience for our students.”

Projects with UF/IFAS faculty members receiving the teaching awards are as follows:

Field-Based Investigation (FBI): Integrating Art with Science to Improve Creative Problem Solving and Communication Skills for Promoting Sustainable Fisheries

  • Susan Jacobson, UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (project leader)
  • Jennifer Seavey, University of New Hampshire Shoals Marine Laboratory
  • Elizabeth Fairchild, University of New Hampshire Department of Biological Sciences
  • Janis Goodman, George Washington University Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

Incorporating Diversity Narratives into Undergraduate Courses

  • Jennifer Jones, UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (project co-leader)
  • Suzanna Smith, UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (project co-leader)
  • Lindsey McDougle, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

The Blue and Orange Partnership: A Vision for Connecting the Two Top Ranked Land-Grant Universities in the Eastern United States through the Teaching of Plant Science

  • David Clark, UF/IFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture
  • Celina Gomez, UF/IFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture
  • Dennis Decoteau, Pennsylvania State University Department of Plant Sciences (project leader)

“This award validates that what we are doing in the Plants, Gardening and You class is having a profound effect outside the classroom,” said David Clark, UF/IFAS professor. “More than half of the students who take the class aren’t familiar with gardening and the importance of what goes into making flowers, fruits and vegetables. We know these students become much more aware of the plants around them in their daily lives after taking the course. To me, this award is personally gratifying because our UF ideas are now taking root at my alma mater.”

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Dana Edwards                                                                                                                       352-392-1963; dana.edwards@ufl.edu

Source: Elaine Turner, 352-392-1963, returner@ufl.edu

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. Visit the CALS website at cals.ufl.edu, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.