University News

Prof Takes Ag Education on the Road

December 6, 2005

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MACOMB, IL – When Western Illinois University agriculture professor Andy Baker was selected to represent Illinois at the inaugural International Agricultural Education Summer Institute this past summer, he had no idea the far-reaching effects his participation would have.

At the institute Baker, along with other participants, attended lectures and presentations, participated in interactive video links with speakers around the world, met in seminars and experienced a wide variety of cultural activities. As part of the institute, Baker began working on a new agriculture education curriculum, in cooperation with James Graham, agriculture education department chair at University of Wisconsin-River Falls, that will eventually be shared with agriculture education teachers across the nation.

Since that institute, Baker and Graham have presented poster sessions at various agriculture education conferences, including the National Association of Agriculture Educators. In addition to this work, Baker was appointed in Fall 2005 to the Governor’s Illinois Committee of Agricultural Education. The 13-member group, which is responsible for a $2.33 million agriculture education line item budget, reviews how agriculture education programs at schools throughout the state spend allocated dollars for curriculum development and other teaching-related needs.

“My involvement with both the international institute and the Illinois commission will serve me well as I assist agriculture educators develop curriculum, and by the same token, review how they can better spend grant monies in order to get the best programming and curriculum for their respective schools,” Baker explained. “Students involved in agriculture courses and FFA at the high school level need the most up-to-date curriculum and training and development aids in order to remain successful and viable in today’s ever-changing agriculture industry.”

During Summer 2006, committee members will expand upon Baker’s and Graham’s curriculum. The pair has already developed nine lessons, Baker added.

“Institute participants who are involved in the curriculum development project will take what we have created and build upon that,” Baker explained. “We are looking at a global curriculum, one that takes American agriculture education students over borders to get them thinking about the world beyond the U.S.”

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing