Much of our work in the engagement mission involves curriculum and program development that is then implemented more directly through the work of our partners and colleagues throughout Virginia and beyond. This work directly aligns with the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s mission to “strengthen communities and their economic viability by creating innovative tools citizens and local government can be used to respond to change.” Examples of existing programs related to the university’s engagement mission include:
Engaging Citizens in Educational Program Planning
Eric Kaufman has been working to improve the use and effectiveness of citizen advisory groups, such as Virginia’s Extension Leadership Councils. This work is facilitated primarily through local agents and members of the state Extension Leadership Council. That work is guided through an Extension publication, Extension Leadership Councils: Planning for Success. In addition, Kaufman contributes to regional efforts toward Strengthening Extension Advisory Leaders, including regular conferences and helpful curricula.
Several faculty have contributed to a conceptual model of leadership development for volunteers, which emphasizes the importance of adult learning principles.
Team Ag Ed
The department provides leadership for the various professional organizations that coordinate agricultural education in Virginia. Activities include professional development programming for educators and leadership development for youth. The most prominent aspects of youth development occur through the Virginia FFA Association, which was founded by Virginia Tech agricultural educators in 1925.