College of Agricultural Sciences names 2019 Harbaugh Scholars

Kelly Jedrzejewski
August 20, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has awarded funding to one individual and two teams to support the development of innovative curricula under the college's Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.

The program was created by a gift from Penn State alumnus Earl Harbaugh and his wife, Kay. Income generated from the endowment is combined with funding from the college's Office for Undergraduate Education to help faculty develop innovative teaching and learning methods. Faculty members who demonstrate a commitment to creativity and wish to cultivate new, innovative curricula are selected for the Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.

“The Harbaughs have been valued partners in supporting our faculty’s goals of providing unique learning opportunities to our students,” said Tracy Hoover, associate dean for undergraduate education. “The innovative curricula developed by these newest Harbaugh Faculty Scholars will further enhance the program’s portfolio.”

Following are the latest Harbaugh Faculty Scholars:

— Julian Avery, assistant research professor of wildlife ecology and conservation. Avery will use imaging technology to enhance several existing courses and foster undergraduate engagement at multiple levels. He plans to incorporate a full-spectrum lens, an instrument that can detect and document pathogens and can be deployed on outings with Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists to quantify infection rates.

Avery noted that it is increasingly important to monitor wildlife health as new pathogens emerge or are transported to regions where populations are evolutionarily naïve. The addition of the lens will allow students to investigate wildlife health in person and could also be used by students to develop new hypotheses and test them in the lab.

— Daniel Foster, associate professor of agricultural and extension education, and Melanie Miller Foster, assistant professor of international agriculture. This team will host a domestic immersive experience to encourage graduate students to grow global competence and stakeholder relationships.

Graduate students representing a wide variety of graduate education programs enrolled in either AEE 530: Teaching and Learning in Agricultural Sciences or INTAD 820: International Agriculture and Development will collaborate in a one-credit seminar class.

The students will prepare contextually relevant presentations for audiences on international agriculture research topics with U.N. Sustainable Development Goals as the framework to help make global issues connect to local application. The seminar will be a value-added option for students and will provide a teaching and learning focused professional development retreat. Foster and Miller Foster said the retreat will establish a strong community of practice and leave participants with the skills to develop effective, engaging presentations situating the international research to local context.

— Kathleen Sexsmith, assistant professor of rural sociology, and Melanie Miller Foster, assistant professor of international agriculture. Sexsmith and Miller Foster will continue a service-learning program that enlists undergraduate students to teach English to Latino immigrant dairy farmworkers.

This is the second year of the program, and the three-credit course offers the opportunity to learn firsthand about immigration, local agriculture and labor issues through weekly visits with Spanish-speaking farmworkers. The class includes weekly discussions and lectures on issues that relate to farmworkers’ lives, including social integration and challenges faced by local farmers.

By the end of the course, students will achieve a personal understanding of the global interconnectedness of Pennsylvania agriculture, an improved awareness of the lives and experiences of immigrant farmworkers, improved intercultural sensitivity and awareness, and improved practical knowledge of the Spanish language.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 20, 2019