As its name implies, the primary goals of the Strengthening Environmental Science Program for Preparing Minority Young Scientists for the 21st Century program are: a) to enhance the quality of KSU’s environmental education program and b) attract greater numbers of minorities to careers in the environmental sciences.
Toward that end, the curriculum committee of KSU’s College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems has held a series of discussions about strengthening the Agriculture, Food and Environment (AFE) program and curricula. The committee identified as its priorities:
- integrating cross disciplinary environmental sciences,
- developing courses in Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing, and
- offering experiential research opportunities.
The expectation is that enhancing these areas will better prepare the workforce by developing expertise in the analysis, visualization, and interpretation of agricultural and environmental management issues, as well as climate change problems and patterns. CAFSSS recognizes that creating experiential learning opportunities for students with their advisors and researchers is a necessary component of a highly effective educational program. The department also is committed to developing partnerships with high schools and offering dual credit courses and merit-based stipends to encourage students to engage in research activities. These are all necessary if the AFE program is to attract new students, sustain them financially, and reduce the likelihood that they will drop out of the program.