NIFA programs targeting the Learning and Engagement goal allow the development of innovative curriculum, recruitment/retention programs, experiential learning opportunities, teacher training opportunities, and procure new instrumentation for teaching. Additionally, the investments targeting this goal differ from Minority Serving Institution (MSI) investments because they are open to all secondary and undergraduate educational institutions.
Importance of Learning and engagement
Educational institutions need to provide cutting-edge training and learning opportunities to (i) develop the specialized skills necessary to meet the emerging workforce demands in the food and agriculture sciences; (ii) prepare future scientists to help advance science and in turn, help feed a growing population; and (iii) enhance agricultural literacy in our secondary schools. For example, to prepare scientists and agribusiness professionals who can address the complex challenges of the 21st Century, educational institutions need to develop programs and curricula that equip their students with modern technological tools and scientific knowledge. At the same time, the agricultural industry is seeking employees who are not only trained in food, agriculture, natural resources, human science and related science disciplines but who also have non cognitive education and relevant experiential learning. To ensure that citizens are aware of farming’s impact on the economy and society, secondary school curricula must emphasize the interlocking role of farming and food and fiber production with environmental quality.
NIFA's educational efforts seek to improve scientific and agricultural literacy and open opportunities for vocational and professional careers in agriculture. Our programs support efforts to:
- Provide opportunities for K-14 educators and administrators to obtain immersive learning experiences in agriculture
- Recruit and train students in agriculture and related sciences
- Develop and improve experiential learning programs
- Advance the development of high-quality educational curricula
- Enhance learning methods, including those involving hands-on experience
- Design teacher preparation and professional development programs
- Promote linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in food and agricultural sciences