Public Value Statements

(Public Value = How does ALEC serve the public interest?)

1.  ALEC prepares critical thinkers and lifelong learners, as it nurtures its graduates and faculty to derive answers and solve local, national, and global problems.

Show Impact Statements

Food justice means equality among all levels of food processing.  This includes the quality of the food, the health benefits the food provides, and the price of the food.  On the other end of the spectrum, it includes the treatment of the animals, the land, and of the workers.  When animals begin being treated poorly, or when workers are not being paid adequately for their work, this is when injustice arises.  In order to shape the path, I would first want to raise awareness of the issue.  I would frame the advertisements in a way that would make the right way seem more pleasurable and efficient and make injustice seem way out of reach.  One practical way for me to fight food injustice would be to research food companies and  avoid those that allow forces labor or inhumane treatment of animals. –Kaylee Jordan

Human trafficking is an issue that doesn’t need to be taken lightly. These people are not only putting their selves at risk, but the ones they are trafficking as well. Jameson (2016) talked about how trafficking goes through the process of recruitment, transportation, and Harboring. I would have to say that the “Elephant” would have to be us, the people who can make a change, and stop this horrible crime. Not only talking about us personally as an individual, but border patrol and the USA coast guard, would be another example of the “Elephant”. Strong (2016) says that the elephant is important to success. We must as a community stop the trafficking of laborers and sex slaves. We are motivated by these terrible crimes to put a stop to it. The issues that come into play with the elephant may be that we are unprepared, or don’t have the materials, to stop this illegal action. Motivation is the number one key into success. By motivating the elephant, you as a person will feel relief knowing that you and the person/people you are motivating, is making a change. Step up and make a change, no matter how big or small; it all matters! – Brooke Fritsche

There is enough food to feed everyone in the world, but over 1 billion people still suffer from hunger. To me, Food Justice means that everyone around the world should have a human right to good food. If I was hired by an organization to enhance Food Justice, I would “shape the path” by making consumers aware of what Food Justice is and what they can do to help promote it. Making people aware of what goes on around the world could influence them to get involved. One thing from the Fair Tomatoes documentary that stuck out to me was having a code of conduct for the workers. This could definitely help shape the path because the rights of the workers would be respected. I also believe that paying farmers more for what they do is a must because many of them are suffering from hunger themselves. These farmers are the ones growing the food that we buy and eat from super markets but are also the ones struggling to eat enough to live. If consumers actually knew what these farmers go through on a daily basis, I believe Food Justice would be known and promoted all around the world. – Jessica Askin

Submitted by Robert Strong, Jr., PhD


Students in data collection, analysis, and interpretation must learn through trial and error – in a kind of flipped class situation whereby students are give data analysis problems BEFORE  they are instructed how to do those analyses. They are often frustatred and frazzled when they arrive at class – but now the questions they are are REAL and MEANINGFUL. They become better at personal problem solving – at thinking critically – at arriving at new solutions. (Not only do they learn from each other, but also I learn from them.  I believe that models the behavior of lifelong learning and makes them comfortable as aspiring and near-future colleagues!

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


My emphasis on improving and developing the curriculum in these courses is centered around setting a good example for our students as they progress on their journeys to becoming Ag Science teachers.  I have with the cooperation of Dr. Murphy, continued to revise and /or develop each of the assignments in AGSC 383 and AGSC 373 to provide to our students examples of different ways to deliver lessons. High impact experiences built into these courses include visits to local high school Ag departments, local agribusinesses, University facilities in other departments, and opportunities to participate in the function of providing FFA competitive activities.  During the student teaching block for both semesters I have had the responsibility of directly supervising student teachers as well as informally visiting the training stations of several others. Also supporting these statements, the development of the STEM integration laboratory facility will allow us to have the ability to provide the needed experiences for our students to develop their skills prior to being responsible themselves for directing local Ag mechanics programs.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


Critical thinking involves skills such as recognizing assumptions, evaluating information and drawing fact-based conclusions, recognizing other points of view, and foreseeing consequences of actions. College students are entering the workforce with deficient critical thinking skills (Flores, Matkin, Burbach, Quinn, & Harding, 2012). College graduates with critical thinking skills are needed for today’s workforce in order to solve the ill-defined and ambiguous problems that exist and to help organizations remain competitive in a global marketplace. 

The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications is partnering with the Department of Entomology on a small-scale grant to introduce the concept of biomimicry into a leadership course and examine whether students’ critical thinking abilities develop after completing modules for biomimicry and critical thinking.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


The impacts of the Texas A&M Extension Career Intern and Education Program are as follows:

  • More effective new County Extension Agents in the state of Texas.
  • Less time required to onboard new agents who have participated in the Excite program.
  • Less fiscal resources to onboard new agents who have participated in the Excite program.
  • Enhances recruiting activities for AgriLife Extension administration.

Submitted by Darrell Dromgoole, PhD


Solving local, national, and global problems requires both organizational leadership development and individual leader development (Quinn & Van Velsor, 2010). Graduates of the leadership programs in the department are expected to translate theory into practice. They are expected to understand themselves as leaders and then translate that into an understanding of others they work with.

ALED 340: Survey of Leadership Theory is required for Agricultural Leadership and Development majors and University Studies – Leadership majors. The course exemplifies leadership as a scholarly discipline by drawing upon the study of multiple leadership theories and how those theories have evolved over time. Approximately 200 students each semester are required to use their written communication skills to articulate a deeper understanding of one of the theories by relating it to their daily lives. As a result, the course impacts students’ perception about the translation of theory to practice. Students acquire insights that directly impact their leadership philosophy and how they ultimately work with, and lead others in the workplace as they solve urgent and complex problems they may encounter.

Submitted by Lori Moore, PhD


Solving local, national, and global problems requires that students be able to critically analyze issues and communicate defensible solutions to them.

Response: Ethical decision making is infused across several ALED courses at a shallow and moderate level of understanding. ALED 424, Applied Ethics in Leadership, provides students with ethical decision making practice at a deeper level of understanding. Approximately 200 students complete this course each year.

Students practice critical thinking as they interact with leaders from a variety of professions and analyze ethical dilemmas faced by today’s leaders. By analyzing the decisions of leaders and applying ethical and moral theories, students gain insights to the process of critically analyzing problems before decisions are made, allowing them to see the potential impact of those decisions and choose the right course of action. Ninety-one percent of students score at 80% or higher in their analysis of these case studies.

Submitted by Barry Boyd, PhD


Show Archived Impact Statements

This isn’t an easy challenge to overcome, and if you are serious about being involved and making a change it is going to take some extreme thinking. Personally, I think I would start by making people aware of how wasteful our population is when it comes to food. Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, not leaving one or two bites on your plate at the end of the day if everyone did that would probably make up for the lack of food to begin with. Spreading the word and making people aware of the problem is where I would start. A lot of our problems globally are because people are uneducated or lack knowledge when it comes to the issues we are facing. Communication is the key that is where I would start with this global hunger issue. -Kelli Gibbins

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


When I leave Aggieland, I wish to lead change by inspiring people to do and be the best that they can be. I want them to dare to be different, and not worry about fitting into the social norm/mold that has been deemed acceptable by society. I want to lead people to success and happiness. Though I work in the horse industry, I am around many diverse and different people daily, and want to be able to lead them to where they want to go, and what they want to do. I want to be a successful leader and lead people in the right direction, where they then fork off my path and create their own.  -Natalie McCall

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


Teaching undergraduate courses in agricultural science and supervising interns certifying to teach agricultural science provide me opportunities to “teach the teachers.” Our graduates take jobs as local teachers of agricultural science where they advance agriculture/knowledge of agriculture/appreciation for agriculture, develop leaders for rural and agricultural communities and organizations, and train citizens

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


My emphasis on improving and developing the curriculum in these two courses is centered around setting a good example for our students as they progress on their journeys to becoming Ag Science teachers.  I have with the cooperation of Dr. Murphy, revised and /or developed each of the assignments in these two courses to provide to our students examples of different ways to deliver lessons. High impact experiences built into these two courses include visits to local high school Ag departments, local agribusinesses, University facilities in other departments, and opportunities to participate in the function of providing FFA competitive activities.  The past two semesters I have participated in the student teaching block; in the fall I was assigned to AGSC 425, 436, 481 and 484; in the spring I was assigned to AGSC 436; both semesters I have had the responsibility of directly supervising three student teachers as well as informally visiting the training stations of several others. Also supporting these statements, the development of the STEM integration laboratory facility will allow us to have the ability to provide the needed experiences for our students to develop their skills prior to being responsible themselves for directing local Ag mechanics programs.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


GOAL: Increase accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency of methods used to obtain data to enable us to understand the human capital characteristics of rural regions of the United States and the development challenges they face.

 PROGRESS: Develop data collection methods, procedures, and sampling methods to improve and/or maximize survey response rates.

  • Researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have developed three new field research methods of collecting data that have increased response effectiveness by up to 60% over traditional data collection methods. These methods have been tested in seven Western states by undergraduate and graduate students in an in vivo environment and have accounted for more than 12,000 contacts.
  •  PROGRESS: Develop a model to account for the effect of question order and matrix configuration effect (heuristic effect)
  •  Researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have completed the second year of the heuristic modeling project, which will enable researchers and practitioners to account, and eventually correct, for error in data that enable us to understand the human capital characteristics of rural regions

 GOAL: Provide agriculturalists with solutions to the dilemma of effectively conveying clear, concise,

 PROGRESS: Develop an engagement model for agriculturalists to reach the public

  • Undergraduate and graduate student researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have completed the second year of the public engagement with agriculture modeling project.
  • Multiple projects, funded by agricultural organizations and philanthropic organizations, including the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, have provided the basis for an initial model.
  • Field research efforts in California, Colorado, and Texas have increased the accuracy of the model by expanding contextual bases including the specific topics of animal welfare, public perceptions of production agriculture, food marketing, and information sources.
  • Results of research conducted in five Western states has resulted in increased effectiveness and efficiency of industry partners’ marketing efforts.
  • Nationwide content analyses have led to consumer-choice experiments to test the visual effects of animal-based protein products in print advertisements

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


Situation: To increase the rigor and credibility in the leadership program, an honors track was created to increase the perception of leadership as an intellectually responsible discipline. This honors track involves students who are honors-eligible that complete a certain number of honors courses in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communications.

Specifically, ALED 301-Honors was developed purposefully to expose honors students to the scholarship of leadership, with a specific goal to help them develop critical thinking skills. The course was offered for the first time in Spring 2012. Plans are to get students enrolled in this course to participate in undergraduate research and further their critical thinking skills.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


ALEC listens to experts and involves community partners to identify knowledge, issues, problems, and needs. The information is synthesized and utilized in meaningful discussions that lead to sustainable solutions for communities.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


ALEC students plan, conduct, implement, and synthesize empirical research to advise industry partners; thus, increasing industry partners’ effectiveness and profitability.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


Engaging students in diverse cultural experiences provides students with innovative learning experiences that will empower them to serve and lead. A higher level of learning occurs through observation, thought, and experience in a meaningful learning environment:

  • ALEC students engage in diverse and cultural high impact field experiences developed in line with theoretical foundations. Students actively test their knowledge gained through hypothesis testing, theory, and lecture, which builds a foundation for deep learning. Students apply new skills through rigorous projects that cause students to take action, develop their own questions, observe and retain key information, and realize how hard it is to do something well.
  • ALEC courses that integrate high impact field experiences encourage students to embrace their education and take it to the next level through developing as an individual, inquiring the unknown or misunderstood, and immersing themselves into each environment entered.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


Solving local, national, and global problems requires that students be able to critically analyze issues and communicate defensible solutions to them.

Situation: If one went solely by the news media, one would think that there is a dearth of ethical leaders in business and public service. A 2000 study found that only 24% of the public trusted business leaders and only politicians and journalists ranked below them (BMA/MORI, 2000). Universities need to produce ethical leaders if we are to reverse this perception of unethical leadership. Becoming conscious of the impact that their decisions make on others is a skill that students must develop if they are to become ethical leaders.

Response: Ethical decision making is infused across several ALED courses at a shallow and moderate level of understanding. ALED 424, Applied Ethics in Leadership, provides students with ethical decision making practice at a deeper level of understanding. Approximately 100 students complete this course each year.

Students practice critical thinking as they interact with leaders from a variety of professions and analyze ethical dilemmas faced by today’s leaders. By analyzing the decisions of leaders and applying ethical and moral theories, students gain insights to the process of critically analyzing problems before decisions are made, allowing them to see the potential impact of those decisions and choose the right course of action.

Submitted by Barry Boyd, PhD


As academic advisers in the ALEC department, we strive to assist students in thinking through their challenges and learn new skills to assist them on their academic journey. One way we have begun to do this is by creating and implementing an Advising Syllabus (See Attached) which has responsibilities listed for both the adviser and student. The goal in implementing the syllabus is to increase students’ responsibility for their education by requiring them to come prepared to advising sessions and be aware of their education. As advisors, we are here to guide our students through their academic program and help them navigate their journey here at Texas A&M and as a student in ALEC. We give them the tools needed to constantly learn and expand their decision making abilities. This helps improve their critical thinking abilities leading them to become lifelong learners and participants in all facets of their education.

Submitted by Christine Arnold

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2.  ALEC creates an understanding of global cultures and conditions, developing global ready graduates with increased marketability in the workforce.

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COALS and TAMU undergraduate enrollment will significantly increase in two newly developed ALEC/ALED courses, “Global Social Justice Issues in Agriculture,” and “Global Agricultural Issues.”

Submitted by Gary Wingenbach, PhD


Interns in Haiti and those traveling to Haiti for HIEs have a greater understanding of the culture of Haiti, of poverty, of malnutrition, of sickness and disease—but also of hope, of thirst for knowledge, and of deep need for humanitarian assistance.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


ALEC 644 The Agricultural Advisor in Developing Nations – Graduate students completing this course will have documented and discussed critical incidents in international development which will improve their abilities for success as agricultural change agents in intercultural settings.

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD


Show Archived Impact Statements

The issue at hand is one of large magnitude and consists of a multitude of ramifications. Thus, change is going to have to happen on all levels, from policy makers to farmers to the public at large. Thus, the influence I can make is in educating. As an adult trainer, I have the ability to access large populations of people and educate them on traditional practices that will pave the way for feeding our world in the future. Although, that work will only touch a limited number of people, so I can work in association with others seeking these same goals. The effort will be one that will only be met when working together. Topics I can educate the public on could be traditional practices that can be utilized. This is important to implement instead of the typical efforts that exist of trying to exploit land for a profit. Furthermore, I can address new ways of distribution and production that will enable food to reach the demands required and also the breadth of people in need. Through educating a targeted audience, I can equip key leaders in the change with the tools and knowledge base to carry the solutions forward. The hardest obstacle will be finding a company to align myself with that supports these ends. Thus, through these efforts I believe I can lead change. -Brooke Bezette

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


Students enrolled in Agricultural Photojournalism in Namibia as part of the ALEC Namibia Photojournalism Study Abroad Program were commissioned by scientists at the Gobabeb Research & Training Centre in Namibia to deliver 195 images of six different research areas, including sustainable infrastructure, desert research, the Kuiseb River riparian zone, invertibates, gravel plains, and the Namib Sand Sea. These images will be used by international researchers and scientists in communicating scientific information to the public, and working toward informed citizens.

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


Students’ participation in ALEC international courses enhances their understanding of the interconnected factors in agricultural, business, and industry.

Submitted by Gary Wingenbach, PhD


  • COALS and TAMU undergraduate enrollment will significantly increase in two newly developed ALEC/ALED courses, “Global Social Justice Issues in Agriculture,” and “Global Agricultural Issues.”
  • Students’ participation in ALEC international courses enhances their understanding of the interconnected factors in agricultural, business, and industry

Submitted by Gary Wingenbach, PhD


ALEC 644 The Agricultural Advisor in Developing Nations – Graduate students completing this course will have acquired important insights for succeeding as agricultural change agents in intercultural settings.

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD


Developed study abroad program for undergraduate and graduate students held at the Soltis Center for Research and Education in San Isidro, Costa Rica.  The contextually-rich course focuses on the diffusion of integrated pest management and other innovative practices for sustainable development and biodiversity.  Costa Rica is a country rich with authentic case studies about sustainable development and biodiversity.  Students learn and apply knowledge and create culturally–rich, content–based reusable learning objects and case studies that are integrated into on–campus classes to further global awareness.  This program has been carried out for three years and has had over 60 participants.

Submitted by James Lindner, PhD

3.  ALEC develops cultural skills, establishes networking, and increases agricultural knowledge and understanding of others with an increased capacity to work effectively with clients and colleagues in local to international settings.

Show Impact Statements

GOAL: Increase accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency of methods used to obtain data to enable us to understand the human capital characteristics of rural regions of the United States and the development challenges they face.

PROGRESS: Develop data collection methods, procedures, and sampling methods to improve and/or maximize survey response rates.

  • Researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have developed three new field research methods of collecting data that have increased response effectiveness by up to 60% over traditional data collection methods, which is sometimes as high as 50%, but can be as low as 5-10%. These methods have been tested in seven Western states by undergraduate and graduate students in an in vivo environment and have accounted for more than 12,000 contacts.

PROGRESS: Develop a model to account for the effect of question order and matrix configuration effect (heuristic effect)

  • Researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have completed the second year of the heuristic modeling project, which will enable researchers and practitioners to account, and eventually correct, for error in data that enable us to understand the human capital characteristics of rural regions. Without correcting for error, subject characteristics may vary by more than 50%; however, the heuristic modeling project is likely to reduce the error to less than 25%, and may eventually reduce error to less than 10%.

PROGRESS: Develop cost-effective data analysis tools to increase the effectiveness of program evaluation

  • Researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory developed a Microsoft Excel calculator for mean weighted discrepancy scores. Since the latest release of the calculator, in November 2015, it has been downloaded more than 350 times. Since the first release (version 1.0), researchers and practitioners have used or are currently using the calculator in public schools, offices of the federal government, in at least 16 domestic universities, and at least six international universities (across four continents). Additionally, more than 20 graduate students (at least 9 doctoral and 11 masters) have reported using a version of this calculator to analyze data for his or her thesis or dissertation. Further, the Microsoft Excel calculator is being used in graduate research methods and data analysis courses taught at two land grant universities.

  Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


In 2016, 79 ALEC students participated in study abroad programs and received $90,000 in university scholarship support. Seven faculty members led six study abroad programs to Costa Rica, Greece, Poland, and Namibia. These programs involved educational networking with international universities and faculty members. Students contributed to local communities through volunteer work, experienced local culture working with agriculturists and students, and toured research and conservatory centers. An additional 350 ALEC  students participated in non-departmental international experiences. ALEC has increased student involvement in international educational opportunities since 2011.

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations over 800 million people are undernourished.   As the world population increases from approximately 7 billion people today to over 9 billion people in about 35 years, agricultural production must increase by approximately 70% to stave off massive malnutrition and starvation.  Faculty in the Department are working with non-profit organizations in Haiti to develop educational, demonstration, and outreach programs designed to alleviate food insecurity problems in the region and to provide training for graduate students to acquire complex competencies need to address global food security and malnutrition.  Increasing animal based protein may contribute to decreased malnutrition in Haiti. 

Impact: ALEC faculty have been working with personnel at IdeaOps Organization, Christianville, and LiveBeyond to introduce goat milk as a potential source of protein.  According to the USDA one cup of goat milk yields approximately a quarter of the required protein daily nutritional needs.  A milking herd of ten does can provide protein for approximately 10 persons.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD, and Manuel Piña, PhD


TAMU Instructional Materials Service faculty increase networking and improve the agricultural knowledge base by ensuring that adequate resources are available for venues in international agricultural and educational development.  This has resulted in the delivery of high-value educational materials to Mongolia. These products are used by the Vocational Education (TVET) project, sponsored through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, impacting 170,000 clients in order to:

  • define occupational skills needed in Mongolian youth;
  • apply these skills in a vocational education curriculum;
  • improve teacher training and professional development; and
  • provide career guidance.

Impact: Use of TAMU instructional materials in Mongolia has resulted in an increase of employment rates of vocational/technical school graduates by 4% nationally which increased their salaries by 7.5% since adoption of the curriculum in 2012.

Kirk Edney, PhD

Show Archived Impact Statements

Dr. Vestal created and beta-tested a new food and agricultural defense emergency communications tool that has successfully improved a delivery strategy that test emergency management (EM) plans resulting in emergency management readiness through professional development of Extension personnel. First he redesigned the EM Plans and Fiedl Guides then led the Texas Extension Emergency Management Steering Committee (TEEM) in a Beta Test using “Flip-the-Classroom” concepts combined with emergency scenarios.

Submitted by T. Andy Vestal, PhD


My efforts impact the charge to increase networking and improve the agricultural knowledge base by ensuring that adequate resources are available for venues such as International Week, by collaborating with development teams in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan, and by identifying existing resources that are suitable for utilization in international settings.  Departmental faculty and students working in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan use IMS materials.  Those materials have been presented to South Sudan through a digital format that I developed.  I conducted a curriculum needs assessment for South Sudan, and developed training materials for use in a USAID project.  These materials were developed to be easily adaptable and replicable product for many international scenarios.  I am a member of AIAEE, which I see as a viable outlet for dissemination of our scholarship-produced products. I actively seek to partner with individuals having skill sets appropriate for extending the educational outreach of our products.  I participated in a Study Abroad experience in Brazil as a means of broadening my personal horizons, allowing me to transfer my experiences to agricultural science teachers and students.  I am currently developing the outline for a Study Abroad course for AGSC majors that will utilize the TAMU Santa Clara facility in San Miguel De Allende, while studying secondary education, youth development opportunities and regional agricultural production in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, Ph.D.


Students take active roles in bettering their communities through social justice programs and volunteerism during and after participating in in ALEC international courses.

Submitted by Gary Wingenbach, PhD


Participating in the Costa Rica study abroad taught me to be aware of other cultures and how similar we all are. I developed an appreciation of the food versus what I typically have in the U.S. and of our highway system versus what we experienced in Costa Rica. Most importantly, I learned about leadership on a global level and how we all are impacted by food insecurity. This experience may be a better student, future former student, and global citizen. -Katelyn Hoelscher

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


In 2014, 62 ALEC students participated in study abroad programs and received $66,000 in university scholarship support. Seven faculty members led five study abroad programs to Costa Rica, Brazil, Guatemala, Greece, and Namibia. These programs involved educational networking with international universities and faculty members. Students contributed to local communities through volunteer work, experienced local culture working with agriculturists and students, and toured research and conservatory centers.

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


My efforts impact the charge to increase networking and improve the agricultural knowledge base by ensuring that adequate resources are available for venues such as International Week, by collaborating with development teams in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan, and by identifying existing resources that are suitable for utilization in international settings.  Departmental faculty and students working in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan use IMS materials.  Those materials have been presented to South Sudan through a digital format that I develop.  I conducted a curriculum needs assessment for South Sudan, and developed training materials for use in a USAID project.  These materials were developed to be easily adaptable and replicable product for many international scenarios.  I am a member of AIAEE, which I see as a viable outlet for dissemination of our scholarship-produced products.  My efforts have also resulted in the delivery of high-value educational materials to Mongolia.  I actively seek to partner with individuals having skill sets appropriate for extending the educational outreach of our products.  I participated in a Study Abroad experience in Brazil as a means of broadening my personal horizons that I may transfer my experiences to agricultural science teachers and students.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


Dr. Vestal complete a three year DHS funded national diffusion of a new food and agricultural defense emergency communications tool that has measurably improved early detection and rapid response to foreign animal and infectious diseases according to state veterinarians involved in the program. Dr. Vestal created the model Animal Health Network (http://AnimalHealthNetwork.org) following a series of focus groups, pilot tests and engaged state veterinarians in 21 states to use this model plan to re-invent the Animal Health Network to meet the organizational and cultural norms in each state.

Dr. Vestal introduced new processes and protocols for agency administration and coordinated faculty and administrators across multiple AgriLife Extension departments and disciplines to draft, review and publish “Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Continuity of Operations Plan for Campus-based Administrative Functions” in compliance with and guided by the Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management System.

Submitted by T. Andy Vestal, PhD


My efforts impact the charge to increase networking and improve the agricultural knowledge base by ensuring that adequate resources are available for venues such as International Week, by collaborating with development teams in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan, and by identifying existing resources that are suitable for utilization in international settings. Departmental faculty and students working in Afghanistan, Haiti, and South Sudan use IMS materials. Those materials have been presented to South Sudan through a digital format that I develop. I conducted a curriculum needs assessment for South Sudan, and am currently in the process of developing training materials for use in a USAID project. It is my goal that these materials be an easily adaptable and replicable product for many international scenarios. My efforts have also resulted in the delivery of high-value educational materials to Mongolia. I actively seek to partner with individuals having skill sets appropriate for extending the educational outreach of our products.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


Engaging students in diverse cultural experiences provides students with innovative learning experiences that will empower them to serve and lead. A higher level of learning occurs through observation, thought, and experience in a meaningful learning environment:

ALEC students engage in diverse and cultural high impact field experiences developed in line with theoretical foundations. Students actively test their knowledge gained through hypothesis testing, theory, and lecture, which builds a foundation for deep learning. Students apply new skills through rigorous projects that cause students to take action, develop their own questions, observe and retain key information, and realize how hard it is to do something well.
ALEC courses that integrate high impact field experiences encourage students to embrace their education and take it to the next level through developing as an individual, inquiring the unknown or misunderstood, and immersing themselves into each environment entered.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


I have witnessed my understanding of culture change since I participated in a study abroad high impact learning experience. Seeing and witnessing the types of food grown and consumed in another country, helped me understand how food is an element of culture, and how I can help mitigate food security issues in developing and developed countries. I gained valuable insight from participating in the experience and not only increased my cultural knowledge, but my agricultural knowledge of the processes small stakeholders undergo to feed their families and sustain their lives. – Vic Blalack

The very first farm we visited will forever have an impact on the way I view life. Planting beans for the farmer truly made me realize how easy we as Americans have life. Planting an entire field of beans by hand is hard work for sure, but when the farmer told us that he normally performs this task alone, which takes up to two days, I realized that he works harder on any given day than most Americans. We would simply use machinery that would probably be air conditioned with tinted windows and satellite radio to do the same job in thirty minutes. Every experience I have gained during my stay in Costa Rica has changed me in some way. I am very grateful for everything from the eye-opening events to the new friends I have made. – Cally Hardwick

The lifestyle of people in Costa Rica is more simple and non-materialistic in relation to that of Americans. Our luxurious lifestyle leaves us unappreciative and close-minded much of the time. From my personal experiences in this country, I now can see that things in this world are not what matter, but the people that you choose the share those experiences with. “Pura Vida,” pure life, is really an excellent description of the lifestyle Costa Ricans live. – Meagan Ghormley

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


Fifty-seven TAMU undergraduate students from two Agricultural Leadership and Development courses (ALED 344 & 439) partnered with the Madison County Extension Office to facilitate hands-on community involvement and education during the summer of 2012 in Madisonville, Texas. Youth programs directed at healthy living and vegetable gardening were focus of these efforts.

Eighty-nine percent (n = 9) of new County Extension Agents attending Texas AgriLife Extension’s Program Excellence Academy 1 during the Spring of 2011 noted that they either “mostly” or “completely” agreed with the statement, “My knowledge of my role as a volunteer administrator has increased.”

Submitted by Landry Lockett, PhD


My efforts impact the charge to increase networking and improve the agricultural knowledge base by ensuring that adequate resources are available for venues such as International Week, by collaborating with development teams in Afghanistan and South Sudan, and by identifying existing resources that are suitable for utilization in international settings. Departmental faculty working in both Afghanistan and South Sudan use IMS materials presented through a digital format that I develop. My efforts have also resulted in the delivery of high-value educational materials to Mongolia. I actively seek to partner with individuals having skill sets appropriate for extending the educational outreach of our products.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD

4.   ALEC listens to experts and involves community partners to identify knowledge, issues, problems, and needs. The information is synthesized and utilized in meaningful discussions that lead to sustainable solutions for communities.

Show Impact Statements

Engaging with industry professionals and state-wide stakeholders provide hands-on application and meets the land grant mission. Students enrolled in Digital Storytelling partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife department to create a visual repository. The images and assets created by ALEC students will be used by TPWD in marketing, education and outreach efforts, serving the citizens of Texas and visitors to the Texas State Parks system.

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


“Our education practice has emphasized information transfer without a great deal of thought given to the meaning, pertinence, or application of the information in the context of the student’s life” (Keeling, 2004, p. 10). What is needed is the view of “learning as a comprehensive, holistic, transformative activity that integrates academic learning and student development” (Keeling, p. 4). Some high-impact educational practices can meet this need. High-impact practices have been identified as active learning experiences that increase student retention and student engagement in higher education (Kuh, 2008). Common high-impact practices developed by colleges and universities include: first year seminars, common experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative projects, undergraduate research, global learning, service-learning, internships, and capstone projects.

ALEC partners with the Department of Residence Life to deliver the Leadership Living Learning Community, a high-impact practice for 60-75 incoming freshmen each year than blends the academic study of leadership with residence life activities. All of the freshmen in the program live on the same floor of the same residence hall and are enrolled in an academic course within ALEC. Research conducted on the program has shown that students participate in this voluntary, residential leadership education learning community based primarily on their needs for Affiliation and Achievement, thus positively impacting their transition from high school to college. 

Submitted by Lori Moore, PhD


A large international agricultural corporation is implementing the results of research on how trust impacts seed sales.  The trust level between sales representative and producer has a positive impact on choice to purchase seed.  In an extremely competitive market, investing money into training programs for sales representatives and a focus on establishing trust with producers will ensure seed corporations keep their current customers and expand their customer base.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


ALEC 624 Developing Funded Research Projects  – Graduate students completing this course will experience 12 key steps in developing competitive proposals for submission to federal agencies and will engage a wide range of academic and community projects in the development and submission of proposals for funding.

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD


Partnering and collaborating with community leadership organizations such as the Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau (TACVB) and the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) are opportunities to learn about community needs, challenges, and issues that define community sustainability and growth.  My efforts include a needs assessment and program evaluation effort for TACVB, which enables the association to better monitor member challenges and growth in order to better meet member needs.  My efforts in educational outreach are collaborating with TTIA as an annual speaker at the Texas Tourism College, which offers post-bachelor educational certificates to a national list of community leaders.  These experiences provide meaningful examples that can be then injected into ALEC courses and discussion that are timely and relevant.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Support of Texas Agricultural Education – In my work through professional development, service and educational outreach, I work with 850 agricultural education programs, which develops over $90 million in economic impacts to their respective communities in Texas, which is a 30% increase from 2014.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Support of Texas Agriculture – In my work in measuring demand preferences for Texas products, I work with Texas Department of Agriculture in the commodities of shrimp, tourism and other food and fiber products, which are estimated at $100 billion in annual values to the Texas Economy.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD

Show Archived Impact Statements

Engaging with industry professionals and state-wide stakeholders provide hands-on application and meet the land grant mission. Ten students in AGCJ 380: Digital Storytelling were commissioned by Texas Parks and Wildlife to tell the story of Texas State Parks through the eyes of millennials. These students created three deliverables: a social media ambassador campaign across multiple formats, a photo repository to be used in marketing and print materials, and a promotional video. Students shot thousands of images and hundreds of hours of footage. In the end, their deliverables reached thousands of citizens of Texas. Content generated for the social media campaign garnered more than 600 likes and 60 shares on Facebook and more than 1000 likes on Instagram. Students delivered 110 professional quality images to TPWD for use in marketing and print media. The video created by students in the class has been seen more than 1000 times in 3 days. Students were able to create usable, deliverable products for a state agency, enabling the partnership to better serve citizens of Texas

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


ALEC students collaborate with industry partners to develop and apply agricultural communications and journalism knowledge and skills that mutually benefit undergraduates and industry partners in real-world settings. Partnership outputs include undergraduate theses, undergraduate and graduate student authorship of peer-reviewed publications with faculty, and technical reports that inform industry partners’ decisions.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


ALEC provides leadership enhancement and outreach opportunities for Texas Agricultural Industry Leaders, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Faulty, Texas A&M University Students and International Allies from around the world to learn more about global food supplies/systems to provide support for sustainable agriculture and world peace.

Submitted by Jim Mazurkiewicz, PhD


ALEC 624 Developing Funded Research Projects  – Graduate students completing this course will have experienced 12 key steps in developing competitive proposals to be submitted to a federal agency and will have engaged community partners in the development and submission of complete proposals for funding.

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD

5.  ALEC supports agricultural science and technology research and its dissemination. This support is illustrated within secondary school programs of agricultural education where middle and high school students in agricultural science receive instruction in the science and technology of agricultural production, food provision, conservation, and preservation of natural resources. These educational efforts benefit society by reducing hunger, improving human health and well-being, and conserving natural environments.

Show Impact Statements

I continue to make efforts to maintain open communications with current teachers and others involved in agribusiness throughout Texas.  As we visit about any subject, I do not miss an opportunity to interject into the discussion information about our goals and progress with the STEM integration lab facility.  Attending conferences with some of our technology in tow, fit right in with this goal.  Additionally I assisted in offering short-courses for our teachers in our facility and opportunities for students to participate in FFA competitive events.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


Texas secondary agriscience students from programs that ALEC faculty have conducted professional development and curriculum design workshops, graduate at a 98% level, which is a 16% increase over typical graduation success of all students in Texas.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Show Archived Impact Statements

The TAMU Instructional Materials Service Poultry Science Manual, 6th edition delivers a ‘coast-to-coast’ impact on both secondary and post-secondary students. This reference provides initial training for many young people nationwide who go on to become entry-level workers, line managers, or undergraduate students in related fields.   This resource is utilized annually in approximately 5,000 schools by 20,000 students.  The Manual is effectively utilized as a pre-service training resource at the secondary level for the poultry industry. In addition, the poultry science materials have also been adapted for school use in Christianville, Haiti.  Approximately 25 students have utilized our materials on a trial basis for:

  • career guidance in agriculture,
  • develop skills in poultry and egg grading;
  • develop skills in marketing poultry products.

Improving skills related to the poultry industry has the potential for smallholders to address niche market opportunities, and increase their income from egg sales by approximately 12%.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


My efforts support the dissemination of agricultural education research through personal and collaborative scholarship, through providing professional development opportunities, and through identifying and developing innovative models of curriculum development and delivery.  I work to incorporate skills gained through the Assessment Development workshop at The Ohio State University and implement standardized assessment procedures and processes.  Test item banks for our IMS Online curriculum product have been developed, and we are currently in the process of adding new content to the available courses and adding new courses to the offering.  I am in the process of refining our assessment materials with a focus on validity and reliability.  We now standardized assessments in agricultural mechanics and agricultural power, and I am in the third year of delivering standardized assessments at both levels of the State FFA Tractor Technician CDE.  I have completed five rounds of standardized aquaculture assessments for the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island, and am currently seeking related curriculum materials to broaden the scope and tailor the focus of these assessments.  IMS assessment materials, through these efforts or contained within the Educational Excellence project, have the potential to improve student test scores in Texas and other states.  The ongoing upgrade of the IMS Online curriculum resource continues to expand beyond Texas, and is increasing in adoption by teachers nationwide.  Part of this expansion is fueled by a more aggressive publicity and social media outreach managed collaboratively by scholars within our Department with these skill sets.  Our successful shared-services arrangement with the AgriLife Copy Services and Extension Bookstore optimizes space while providing opportunities for smoother workflows

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


My efforts support the dissemination of agricultural education research through personal and collaborative scholarship, through providing professional development opportunities, and through identifying and developing innovative models of curriculum development and delivery.  I work to incorporate skills gained through the Assessment Development workshop at The Ohio State University and implement standardized assessment procedures and processes.  Test item banks for our IMS Online curriculum product have been developed, and we are currently in the process of adding new content to the available courses and adding new courses to the offering.  I am in the process of refining our assessment materials with a focus on validity and reliability.  We now standardized assessments in agricultural mechanics and agricultural power, and I am in the third year of delivering standardized assessments at both levels of the State FFA Tractor Technician CDE.  I have completed five rounds of standardized aquaculture assessments for the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island, and am currently seeking related curriculum materials to broaden the scope and tailor the focus of these assessments.  IMS assessment materials, through these efforts or contained within the Educational Excellence project, have the potential to improve student test scores in Texas and other states.  The ongoing upgrade of the IMS Online curriculum resource continues to expand beyond Texas, and is increasing in adoption by teachers nationwide.  Part of this expansion is fueled by a more aggressive publicity and social media outreach managed collaboratively by scholars within our Department with these skill sets.  Our successful shared-services arrangement with the AgriLife Copy Services and Extension Bookstore optimizes space while providing opportunities for smoother workflows

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


I continue to make efforts to maintain open communications with current teachers and others involved in agribusiness throughout Texas.  As we visit about any subject, I do not miss an opportunity to interject into the discussion information about our goals and progress with the STEM integration lab facility.  Attending conferences with some of our technology in tow fit right in with this goal.  Additionally offering short-courses for our teachers in our facility and taking the 2×2 plasma table to do some demonstrations will not only allow others to become more aware not only of the progress we are making, but it will also help gain support in our efforts to improve our capabilities in providing cutting edge instruction to our students.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


My efforts support the dissemination of agricultural education research through personal and collaborative scholarship, through providing professional development opportunities, and through identifying and developing innovative models of curriculum development and delivery.  Our Poultry Science Manual, 6th edition is employed ‘coast-to-coast’ as a student resource.  I work to incorporate skills gained through the Assessment Development workshop at The Ohio State University and implement standardized assessment procedures and processes.  Our IMS workgroup is currently in the process of developing item banks for specific curriculum assessments. I am in the process of refining our assessment materials with a focus on validity and reliability.  I have provided standardized assessments in the areas of general agricultural mechanics and agricultural power.  I am in the fourth round of delivering a standardized aquaculture assessment for the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island.  These materials, as well as those developed in conjunction with the Educational Excellence project, have the potential to improve student test scores in Texas and other states.  The ongoing upgrade of the IMS Online curriculum resource continues to expand beyond Texas, and is increasing in adoption by teachers nationwide.  Part of this expansion is fueled by utilization of a more aggressive publicity and social media outreach managed collaboratively by scholars within our Department with these skill sets.  Our continued successful shared-services arrangement with the AgriLife Copy Services and Extension Bookstore optimizes space while providing opportunities for smoother workflows and expanding the audience for both IMS and Extension Bookstore publications.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


My efforts support the dissemination of agricultural education research through personal and collaborative scholarship, through providing professional development opportunities, and through identifying and developing innovative models of curriculum development and delivery. Our Poultry Science Manual, 6th edition is employed ‘coast-to-coast’ as a student resource. I completed the Assessment Development workshop at the Ohio State University to implement standardized assessment procedures and processes for future efforts. Our IMS workgroup is currently in the process of developing item banks for specific curriculum assessments. I am in the process of refining our assessment materials with a focus on validity and reliability. I have provided standardized assessments in the areas of general agricultural mechanics and agricultural power. I am in the third round of delivering a standardized assessment for the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island. These materials, as well as those developed in conjunction with the Educational Excellence project, have the potential to improve student test scores in Texas and other states. The ongoing upgrade of the IMS Online curriculum resource continues to expand beyond Texas, and is increasing in adoption by teachers nationwide. Part of this expansion is fueled by utilization of a more aggressive publicity and social media outreach managed collaboratively by scholars within our Department with these skill sets. Our continued successful shared-services arrangement with the AgriLife Copy Services and Extension Bookstore optimizes space while providing opportunities for smoother workflows and expanding the audience for both IMS and Extension Bookstore publications.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD

6.  ALEC graduates and faculty involved in international agricultural development serve as positive ambassadors from the United States; more importantly, they assist developing countries in increasing their standards of living and improving economic well-being.

Show Impact Statements

In my work through USAID in educational program development in Guinea for higher education rograms in Guinea, program assessment illustrates a 150% knowledge increase in marketing knowledge, 67% knowledge in increase in development entrepreneurship programs and student lead project and 50% knowledge increase in developing new educational programs.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Students participating in the Guatemala Community Leadership study abroad program recognize the impact of leadership, education, and communication as a mechanism for change regardless of culture. Students participate in sustainable agriculture related service-learning projects that directly benefit rural communities in Guatemala.

Submitted by Lori Moore, PhD


  • Faculty and students work collaboratively with host country nationals to identify and solve food and agricultural science problems facing rural communities in developing nations.
  • Aggie students who focus their studies on ALEC international courses become models of global citizenship upon graduating from the ALEC Department

Submitted by Gary Wingenbach, PhD


ALEC 645 Initiating, Managing, and Monitoring Projects of International Agricultural Development – Graduate students completing this course will acquire knowledge and experience from a wide range of experts and practitioners that have responsibilities for the many steps involved in the pre- and post-award phases of international development projects that are funded.

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD


Show Archived Impact Statements

ALEC provides leadership enhancement and outreach opportunities for Texas Agricultural industry leaders, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Faulty, Texas A&M University Students and International Allies from around the world to learn more about global food supplies/systems to support agriculture and world peace.  To date, over 90 farm families have been involved with the Texas/Poland young farmer exchange/internship and more than 20 universities in Poland and Texas.  In addition, 190 Texas agricultural leaders, university faculty, government leaders, business leaders and students from Texas have visited Poland and 100 of the same from Poland have visited Texas farms and ranches.  Farming practices such as no till, maize production, and the science behind GMO’s have been introduced and studied.  A quote by Norman Borlaug, “Therefore I feel that the aforementioned guiding principle must be modified to read: If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace”.

Impacts: Since 2003, the number of Poland farms has fallen 30 %, but the size of farms has doubled in economic size with 14.2 % growth per year.  This growth has been labeled “Ten Years of Economic Success.” Corn production was another emphasis area reinforced through the Texas A&M/Poland young farmer exchange program. Corn planted acreage increased by 84% since 2012 to a total of ~600,000 Ha.

Submitted by Jim Mazurkiewicz, PhD


AgriCorps and graduates like Blaze Currie and John Romo and our Peace Corps volunteers and Samantha Alvis and Belay Begashaw and Chris Bielecki and Juan Whiting and Audie Cherry and many other are evidence of this! I have taught each of these—and many others who have done amazing work world-wide.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


Armenia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tajikistan, and Uganda are some of the countries in which ALEC students and faculty have worked and served. In Peru, for example, seven ALEC faculty members have worked with faculty members and administrators at Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM) to increase faculty capacity to conduct research and to improve their teaching strategies, evaluation methods, and curriculum development.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


ALEC 645 Initiating, Managing, and Monitoring Projects of International Agricultural Development – Graduate students completing this course will have acquired knowledge and developed an extensive network of experts and practitioners to engage and succeed in international agricultural development projects

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD

7.  ALEC utilizes technology-enhanced instruction so that place-bound professionals can access and participate in educational programs. This instruction results in lower costs for students seeking degrees in their fields of study and allows in-service professionals to continue their education and obtain degrees while maintaining their employment and contributions to local communities and economies.

Show Impact Statements

The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications received a grant to develop instructional modules infusing the concept of biomimicry into leadership. Three undergraduate students developed modules that are being incorporated into the introductory leadership course.  These modules will allow for students to learn about leadership in a dynamic and interactive process in an online environment.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


ALEC faculty have expanded access to undergraduate courses in leadership, education, and communications through the development of distance education course offerings. Students are able to continue meeting degree requdirements while employed in internships, participating in study abroad programs, or serving in leadership roles from any location. This expansion has created additional capacity to support a leadership minor available to any Texas A&M University student.

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


Agricultural science teachers in Texas provide instruction to more than 120,000 middle and high school students annually. Approximately 20,000 of those are seniors. These 20,000 students enroll in agricultural science graduate at a rate of 98% (19,600 of 20,000), approximately 16% higher than the typical graduation rate of Texas high school students. Thus, an additional 3,200 students in agricultural science graduate compared to a similar cohort of students not enrolled in agricultural science. These additional 3,200 will earn an average of $10,386 more than had they been high school dropouts. This computes to an additional $33,235,200 of income annually—assuming that none of them continued on for more education.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


Capital Group Companies’ redesigned training program reduced their overhead expenses by 12% as a result of skills learned through ALEC’s Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


The ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate prepares students and professionals to develop sophisticated eLearning courses and programs to serve the eTraining needs of both the public and private sector.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


TAMU AGSC and Technology Enhanced instruction partnered to create an online alternative teacher certification program through the College of Education accelerate online program. To date, there have been hundred of inquires with over 30 potential candidates submitting interest forms and the first candidate competed certification on May 2015.

Submitted by AGSC Program Area


Show Archived Impact Statements

As an e-learning designer it means although I can probably rely on my basket of current “technology tricks”, I also need to keep up because students are savvier as each year goes by. Students need to be compelled to dig into the materials and my materials will quickly become dated if I do not (at minimum) investigate new technologies as they evolve. It doesn’t mean I will incorporate everything new, it just means I must evaluate what is available and choose the best method for developing a compelling product. -Mary Rose Fisher

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


The ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate prepares students and professionals to develop sophisticated eLearning courses and programs to serve the eTraining needs of both the public and private sector. Participants who have completed the ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate Program commonly gain employment in public and private sectors assisting with the new and rapidly growing field of eLearning.

In the public sector, Caitlyn Calvert, a graduate of the program, uses her eLearning skills to provide new and diverse learning experiences for citizens across Texas as a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension employee. After completing the program, she was able to take the skills and knowledge gained to create courses that serve adult and K-12 leaners. One course will be delivered in 13 states across the United States. She has also developed courses related to science and math for middle school and high school students.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


As a leader in technology-enhanced instruction, ALEC leads agricultural education, agricultural leadership, and agricultural communications programs in the adoption and use of virtual worlds to create real world simulations for learning. Supported by a USDA-SERD Higher Education Challenge grant, Second Life simulations have been developed to teach crisis communications and have been showcased nationally and internationally. These simulations have been adopted in Veterinary Medicine preparation. we expanding to include leadership simulations and alternate reality gaming (ARG).

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


As a student I’ve had experience using e-Learning, e-Campus and moodle. Constant change is something that will always be a part of e-Learning and students will adapt. I think it’s unfortunate that the add ins are extra so some students will be limited on the online learning experience they have but budgets aren’t going anywhere and Blackboard isn’t going to lower the price anytime soon. -Caitlyn Calvert

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


Lots of people have to work and gain their higher degree or learn some new abilities at the same time now. However, some will attend class on campus; many will not because some of them are hard to go to campus for class during working time. Hence, taking online class for learning more abilities is a good choice. Technology plays an important role in online learning. If learners understand how to use technologies well, they are more likely learning well in online class. As a result, the technology experience is a crucial factor to help learners accessing online classes. Even learners have no technology experience in the past, they still can understand how to access to learning content and enjoy the online class. Online learning has allowed me to earn an advanced degree to qualify a promotion or to compete for another vocation.

Submitted by Ruei-Ping Chang


The ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate prepares students and professionals to develop sophisticated eLearning courses and programs to serve the eTraining needs of both the public and private sector.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


2014 Update: Participants who have completed the ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate Program commonly gain employment in public and private sectors assisting with the new and rapidly growing field of eLearning. In the private sector – Leslie Bedgood, a graduate of the program, works as a Senior Training Specialist for Capital Group Companies. In the public sector – Caitlyn Calvert, a current graduate student in the program, uses her eLearning skills to provide new and diverse learning experiences for citizens across Texas as a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension employee.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


The ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate prepares students and professionals to develop sophisticated eLearning courses and programs to serve the eTraining needs of both the public and private sector.  Thirty-three students have completed the program through both academic and continuing education.  Over half of the graduates of the program are using these skills and many of these have gained employment in areas including curriculum design, training, and administration.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


Participants who have completed the ALEC Agriculture eLearning Development Certificate Program commonly gain employment in public and private sectors assisting with the new and rapidly growing field of eLearning. In the private sector – Leslie Bedgood, a graduate of the program, works as a Manager of Instructional Systems Design for MTS Technologies, Inc. In the public sector – Caitlyn Calvert, a current graduate student in the program, uses her eLearning skills to provide new and diverse learning experiences for citizens across Texas as a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension employee.

Submitted by Theresa Murphrey, PhD


I believe that more and more people will be attending classes for a number of reasons (i.e., career advancement, personal interest, etc.). It is becoming more and more common to see the non-traditional student in the classroom, beit face-to-face or virtual. As job markets tighten and as trends shift, people see needs to learn more specialized skills. Personal responsibilities tend to increase as you age, so it makes sense that as the non-traditional student trend increases, the set of responsibilities those students will have could be greater. eLearning courses enable adults to not leave their job and home to earn an advanced degree. I am grateful to the online graduate program because it has helped me further my education at my convenience and location. -Joshua Holman

Throughout my undergrad degree and now my graduate degree, I have always worked 40+ hours a week in addition to being a full-time student. I find being enrolled in online classes works best for me because of my career duties and, as of last semester, my family duties…we are expecting our first son in May! As a younger online student, I have not experienced technology difficulties because of the programs and information I have been exposed to in college as well as my career. However, I can easily see how non-traditional learners could struggle with learning about programs such as Photoshop, Centra, etc. I am grateful for the opportunity to get my graduate degree online and I know many people feel the same way. If it were not for the technological advances over the years, grad school would not be a feasible option for a full-time working mom. – Mary Schooler

I am four classes from completing my Master’s degree and I wouldn’t have been able to do that except by the grace of technology. I was a single mom for 12 years and have always had to work to support my family. As much as I love the atmosphere of the A&M campus in College Station, I only get to visit when I’m in town for work and we’ve recently decided to let that contact go. I work in workforce development and so many people are in a same kind of situation. I had a computer class in college and my family bought a computer my sophomore year of college. I learned almost everything I know because I had to for school or work, and I love this stuff. – Lisa McCoy

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


1. The high unemployment rates and increased movement toward technology in our society has likely encouraged many adults to go back to school. Even if they haven’t lost their jobs, many likely fear that their jobs could disappear (or they could get leapfrogged for better jobs) in the future.  Online classes give people more time to be with their families and to more time to work to pay for their education. Online classes save the hassles of parking, driving at night (or having to get off work to take day classes), getting parking stickers, and buying extra gas, even when the school of interest is just down the road. The great thing about online classes is they present so many new opportunities for learning. I live in North Carolina and am able to take a class offered by Texas A&M. Since so many institutions offer so many online courses, the attraction of going to school can be greater because students now have better chances to discover more courses that meet their interests.

2. I am a 13 year Texas AgriLife Extension Service employee. I am 2/3 of the way toward completing a Doctorate in Ag Education. I work 45 to 80 hours a week as a County Extension Agent. Without online education, I would not be able to pursue a lifelong dream of earning my doctorate degree. I raise and sell show wethers in my “free time.” I am married with two small children. We participate in T-Ball, Softball, 4-H with the kids. My wife is a math/science teacher and coaches private cheerleading lessons almost every weekend (she is about to finish her Principal Certification, yay). We are busy like everyone else.

Online technology allows me to work and earn my paycheck, participate in family activities, continue my outside income interest and earn a degree. My only other option would be to drive to College Station (2 hours) and attend classes and then drive back. The learning curve was very steep in the beginning. I was familiar with Centra but not with Blackboard, Camtasia, powerpoint with voiceover, etc. I can personally say the benefits of having DSL only makes online education that much more easy. The class work is time consuming and stressful as is, waiting for dial up internet would only add to the stress level. Online education is the future, I am so honored to be a part of it.

3. I have really enjoyed my graduate studies online. I, too, working 40 hours a week would not be able to continue with my education if it was not offered online. Sure, I could attend classes face-to-face but I could have to make the drive and then lose hours from the workplace, which I probably left exhausted anyway! I have even worked with groups online and it has worked out well! I agree that for ones undergraduate degree that they should be placed in a face-to-face environment simply because they will need guidance, proper examples and coaching. Here in our graduate degree we have ways where we can apply our learning to our past and current workplaces. 

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


8.  ALEC plans, delivers, and assesses community programs and educational efforts. Community programs improve, thus encouraging and facilitating more effective decision-making and problem solving within these communities. These programs results in increased economic development and an enhanced quality of life for the communities served.

Show Impact Statements

Dr. Vestal has adopted and implemented two key sets of principles 1) “Flip-the-Classroom” and 2) “TAMUS Train-Traq” to optimize direct access to knowledge for employee professional development. This direct access to knowledge is delivered thorough a series of Handbooks and Field Guides. Once exposed to this knowledge the learners, through TAMUS Train Traq, are assigned specific collapsed-calendar scenario-driven exercises to test their mastery of the knowldege. Since September 2016 more than 300 employees  have completed the 32 minute Train Traq exercise. This model has enabled supervisors to manage employee onboarding and in-service training, and account for employee completions, while reducing instructor-learner contact time by 50%. the Train Traq delivery modes was first identified by employees through strategic planning events in 2014 and has become a reality receiving excellent reviews.

Submitted by Tom A. “Andy” Vestal, PhD


I conduct leadership education practice and research that prepares critical thinking leaders to have a positive impact on their organizations and communities. For example, ALED 341 (Team Learning) pairs teams of students with community organizations to fulfill organizational needs. This course has contributed over $400,000 in time and money to the community. Several teams who have worked with the Lincoln Center, a local organization poised to help lower socioeconomic youth, to increase their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills with the hope it will increase graduation rates by 70%.

Submitted by Jennifer Strong, PhD


Students enrolled in Principles of Adult Learning provided analysis of seven organizations that provide training for adults. For each organization, students offered recommendations, grounded in theory and best practices, that could enhance organizational impact in adult learning, better serving citizens of the state of Texas.

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


Work of the Organizational Development Unit provides Extension Faculty with the knowledge, skills, best practices and tools to plan, implement, evaluate, report, and provide evidence of accountability for local, state, and federal stakeholders.  Providing this level of accountability leads to funding for Texas Extension thus helping Texans solve important community issues.

Submitted by ALEC Organizational Development Unit


Texas spends 3.3 billion dollars annually on corrections (Texas Department of Justice, 2013). Approximately twenty-four percent of expenditures comes from costs outside the budget (Vera Institute of Justice, 2014). The Texas Public Policy Foundation (2014) recommended voters and future decision makers understand better the cost of Corrections to our state.

Reentering the civil population can be challenging for inmates when their time is served. Students in ALED 426, teach inmates at the Bryan Women’s Federal Prison Camp topics such as resume building, preparing for an interview, enhancing your public speaking, eating healthy, positive thinking, and physical fitness. The goals are to better prepare inmates as they begin to cycle back into civilian life and give students a comprehension of a large budget issue for our state.

Impact: A volunteer’s time is worth $23.07 per hour according to The Independent Sector Organization (2014). Since 2011, ALED students have contributed over $25,000 of volunteer teaching time to our local prison in hopes of reducing their expenditures and preparing adults to reenter society and become productive citizens.

Submitted by Robert Strong, PhD


The Extension Organizational Development Unit provides professional development and leadership education to 600+ local county extension faculty at 250 offices across the state who engage more than 10,000 citizens in County Leadership Advisory Boards and Program Area Committees. Developing appropriate leadership competencies among county extension faculty is key to the success of community change through educational programs.  These groups form the most fundamental extension education ideal, dependent on leadership involvement of community and industry-based engagement. These advisory groups establish their own personalities, priorities, and expectations of the land-grant university to deliver relevant health, family, business, environmental, agricultural, and natural resource learning programs through a variety of educational delivery strategies, translational research, and experiential events to influence the development and sustainable adoption of technologies and techniques benefiting youth, families, consumers, businesses, and producers in every community across Texas. 

Submitted by ALEC Organizational Development Unit


Show Archived Impact Statements

Educational opportunities to communities exist in the areas of measuring economic impact of tourism and community related events, which results in access to community resources, external funding, and most importantly knowledge of the economic return of the programmatic efforts. And additional educational opportunity is community branding, which is accomplished by becoming innovative marketers, better in evaluating demand preferences, and initiating strategic business practices.  My efforts are to offer education outreach that achieves these targeted community educational needs.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Work of the Organizational Development Unit provides Extension Faculty with the knowledge, skills, best practices and tools to evaluate, report, and provide evidence of accountability for local, state, and federal stakeholders.  Providing this level of accountability leads to funding for Texas Extension thus helping Texans solve important community issues.

Submitted by Scott Cummings, PhD


Summary: Leadership education practice and research, which prepares critical thinking leaders who have a positive impact on their organizations and communities.

Situation: In the world in which we live, people are looking for those who can lead them towards a common goal. This extends from college students seeking their first jobs to established workers seeking to extend their leadership development to graduate students looking to impact their chosen organizations and the community abroad.

Response: To aid in this endeavor, three undergraduate and one graduate level courses were created or re-designed to align with employer stated needs and to advance the TAMU ALEC program forward. Research was also conducted looking at the perceptions of leadership students on study abroad programs as well as those in the field of leadership education. Other research included mentoring and its impacts on undergraduates and application of leadership pedagogy.

Specifically, ALED 341: Team Learning was re-designed to incorporate a service-learning project. For this project, students worked with community programs in completing a needs assessment, developing a plan of volunteerism, and completing at least $1,000 worth of value for the organization. The class total was over $90,000 of time and money contributed to local organizations. Two undergraduates in this course will also be presenting research at a national conference, which emerged from this project.

Submitted by Jennifer Strong, PhD


The Organizational Development Unit coordinated the training of newly hired county Extension agents through the Program Excellence Academy.  Participants receive training to enhance their ability to plan, implement and evaluate programs in their communities.  The 2012 Cohort reported the following changes: 

Ø  85.7% either are or will use multiple teaching methods 

Ø  67.2% either are or will use lesson planning techniques learned in the Academy 

Ø  100.0% either are or will utilize multiple data collection methods in evaluating programs

Submitted by Jeff Ripley, PhD


Work of the Organizational Development Unit provides Extension Faculty with the knowledge, skills, best practices and tools to evaluate, report, and provide evidence of accountability for local, state, and federal stakeholders.  Providing this level of accountability leads to funding for Texas Extension thus helping Texans solve important community issues.

Collaborative work of the Organizational Development Unit provided comprehensive evaluation efforts to two state agencies on critical issues facing Texans.  Through the work on the evaluation of the Hurricane Ike project, new models for disaster recovery will be put in place for upcoming storms and other natural disasters.  Work with the H1N1 effort will lead to better communication strategies with health care practitioners and the public with regard to outbreaks or communicable diseases. 

Submitted by Scott Cummings, PhD


Dr. Vestal provided leadership to more than 96 hours of training and professional development of more than 600 Extension personnel at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Prairie View Cooperative Extension Program to elevate their educational competencies for delivery of community education on emergency preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.

Submitted by T. Andy Vestal, PhD


In ALED 400 (Public Leadership Development), ALEC students engage in action research to assist non-profit agencies in finding solutions to their needs. This research is mutually beneficial to students and non-profit agencies. Outputs of this course include technical reports to the non-profit agencies and research skills and student authorship of scholarly activity.

Submitted by Summer Odom


  • The V.G. Young Institute of County Government provided educational programs for county judges and commissioners; county and district clerks; county tax assessor-collectors; and county treasurers. These programs served to meet state mandated continuing education requirements that elected county officials must satisfy. Over 1,500 county officials and staff were trained at Institute schools, constituting over 24,000 educational contact hours with clientele.
  • In addition to hosted programs, the Institute served as the educational sponsor and advisor for state and regional programs for county judges and commissioners; the County and District Retirement System; and the Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts. Almost 1,300 county officials participated in these programs accounting for over 15,000 educational contact hours.
  • The Institute continued to expand its presence in the online training arena. Through various partnerships the Institute currently has five online training modules available. Six additional modules are in development and will be made available June 1. These courses meet the criteria to satisfy continuing education requirements for various groups of county officials. Additional partnership and opportunities are currently being explored and developed.
  • Working with the Associate Director for County Programs, Extension’s Leadership Program Director, and the Regional Leadership Teams, a new leadership program designed for graduates of Extension’s leadership programs was developed. Four Regional Extension Leadership Programs took place in February and March, 2013.

Submitted by Rick Avery, PhD

9.  ALEC leadership education graduates and faculty increase team performance in workplaces. Stronger teams mean reaching goals and objectives more efficiently and effectively.

Show Impact Statements

My emphasis on improving and developing the curriculum in these courses is centered around setting a good example for our students as they progress on their journeys to becoming Ag Science teachers.  I have with the cooperation of Dr. Murphy, continued to revise and /or develop each of the assignments in AGSC 383 and AGSC 373 to provide to our students examples of different ways to deliver lessons. High impact experiences built into these courses include visits to local high school Ag departments, local agribusinesses, University facilities in other departments, and opportunities to participate in the function of providing FFA competitive activities.  During the student teaching block for both semesters I have had the responsibility of directly supervising student teachers as well as informally visiting the training stations of several others. Also supporting these statements, the development of the STEM integration laboratory facility will allow us to have the ability to provide the needed experiences for our students to develop their skills prior to being responsible themselves for directing local Ag mechanics programs.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


Students across various academic disciplines have been recruited to become part of a learning community and two courses housed within the ALEC Department. Cultural Leadership and Exploration for Sophomores (CLUES), is a very diverse group of students whereas future leaders are taught beginning with self-awareness, multiculturalism and leadership. It is imperative that students are knowledgeable about how to focus on social justice issues with civility. Focusing on these types of issues one must begin with self -reflection and have an understanding of self before they can begin to lead others. As a result of building leadership and followership skills students have chosen to volunteer their time and efforts toward working with Habitat for Humanity to help with building homes and volunteered to work with The Big Event, hosted by TAMU to help the local community in whatever aspects are needed by the local community member. In this regard, students have learned to work as leaders and as followers in various aspects of their education. Students who continue to be informed and are given the skills to, not only observe needs and concerns, but help, not only at their university, but to the community as well.

Submitted by Chanda Elbert, PhD


Through an upper level leadership course, ALED 400 (Public Leadership Development), students engage in a team project to help solve an issue of a community organization.  Examples of non-profit organizations students have worked with to help them address a need include: the Brazos County Fair and Expo, Brazos County Extension, United Way of Brazos Valley, Texas State 4-H, Rotary Club of Aggieland, Brazos Valley Convention & Visitor Center, V.G. Young, Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley, and the Brazos Valley WorldFest.  Students learn to work in teams by being given real problems or needs and using critical thinking and the strengths of their team to help solve these issues.  By being given a “professional” and “real” problem, students are better prepared to enter the workforce.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


Work of the department focused on developing leaders of tomorrow through the Vice Chancellor’s AgriLife Advanced Leaders Program.  Fifteen participants completed cohort I, twelve participants completed cohort II, and they are providing leadership to critical programs in teaching, research, extension, and service for Texans. Fifteen people participated in cohort III. Eighteen individuals are in cohort IV.

Submitted by Jack Elliot, PhD

Show Archived Impact Statements

Summary: Leadership education practice and research, which prepares critical thinking leaders who have a positive impact on their organizations and communities.

Situation: In the world in which we live, people are looking for those who can lead them towards a common goal. This extends from college students seeking their first jobs to established workers seeking to extend their leadership development to graduate students looking to impact their chosen organizations and the community abroad.

Response: To aid in this endeavor, three undergraduate and one graduate level courses were created or re-designed to align with employer stated needs and to advance the TAMU ALEC program forward. Research was also conducted looking at the perceptions of leadership students on study abroad programs as well as those in the field of leadership education. Other research included mentoring and its impacts on undergraduates and application of leadership pedagogy.

Specifically, ALED 341: Team Learning was re-designed to incorporate a service-learning project. For this project, students worked with community programs in completing a needs assessment, developing a plan of volunteerism, and completing at least $1,000 worth of value for the organization. The class total was over $30,000 of time and money contributed to local organizations. Two undergraduates in this course will also be presenting research at a national conference, which emerged from this project.

Submitted by Jennifer Strong, PhD


Students across various academic disciplines have been recruited to become part of a learning community and two courses in the ALEC Department. Cultural Leadership and Exploration for Sophomores (CLUES), is a very diverse group of students whereas future leaders are taught beginning with self-awareness, multiculturalism and leadership. It is imperative that students are knowledgeable about how to focus on social justice issues with civility. Focusing on these types of issues one must begin with self -reflection and have an understanding of self before they can begin to lead others.

Submitted by Chanda Elbert, PhD


I’m working with the AGSC group to take a close look at the AGSC pre-teaching curriculum as a whole to find those areas needing more emphasis and to identify areas of excess overlap.  The goal is to streamline and improve the curriculum for our students.  The initial findings from this research indicate the need for additional instruction on topics related to Ag mechanics and horticulture.  An idea that I am exploring is to develop a handbook for undergraduates planning to teach; similar to the student teaching handbook this potentially would be a guide for students and faculty.  As the Area III Ag. Science Teacher Secretary I developed the Area Handbook for teachers to keep teachers working as one team to accomplish common goals.  Originally the Area III Ag Teacher Handbook was printed, but has since moved to an online site; I would envision something similar in this case.

Submitted by J.P. Hancock


Situation: According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (N.A.C.E, 2013), the top 3 skills and qualities employers are looking for in college graduates are 1) ability to communicate verbally, 2) ability to work in a team, and 3) ability to make decisions and solve problems.

Students in ALED 400-Public Leadership Development learn how to collaborate and work together effectively in a team to address and solve a real problem faced by an outside client (non-profit or governmental organizations).  Students also develop verbal communication skills through the presentations they make to their client and to the rest of the class. Through this course, students obtain both academic grounding and practical experience in issues leaders face.

Submitted by Summer Odom, PhD


Work of the department focused on developing leaders of tomorrow through the Vice Chancellor’s AgriLife Advanced Leaders Program.  Fifteen participants completed cohort I and will be providing leadership to critical programs in teaching, research, extension, and service for Texans. Twelve participants are now participating in cohort II.

Submitted by Scott Cummings, PhD and Jack Elliot, PhD


Hispanic Leaders in Agriculture and Environment and Leadership Development for Success and Change are two complementary externally-funded projects for graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to develop and/or hone leadership skills to succeed as professionals and represent the interests of U.S. minority populations in their future professional roles

Submitted by Manuel Piña, Jr., PhD


One hundred percent (n = 31) of students completing ALED 442 “Professional Communications in Agriculture and Life Sciences” during the Fall of 2011 either “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” to the statement, “I developed leadership skills in this class.”

Submitted by Landry Lockett, PhD


10.  ALEC agricultural communications and journalism graduates and faculty inform citizens with timely and accurate messages about issues in agriculture, food, and natural resources. An informed society results in better decision-making and improved problem solving.

Show Impact Statements

GOAL: Provide agriculturalists with solutions to the dilemma of effectively conveying clear, concise, targeted messages to the public

PROGRESS: Develop an engagement model for agriculturalists to reach the public

  • Undergraduate and graduate student researchers in ALEC’s Digital Media Research and Development Laboratory have completed the second year of the public engagement with agriculture modeling project.
  • Multiple projects, funded by agricultural organizations and philanthropic organizations, including the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, have provided the basis for an initial model.
  • Field research efforts in California, Colorado, and Texas have increased the accuracy of the model by expanding contextual bases including the specific topics of animal welfare, public perceptions of production agriculture, food marketing, and information sources.
  • Results of research conducted in five Western states has increased effectiveness and efficiency of industry partners’ marketing efforts, including economic impacts exceeding $68 million annually.
  • Nationwide content analyses have led to consumer-choice experiments to test the visual effects of animal-based protein products in print advertisements

PROGRESS: Develop a system to reach and engage the public with agriculture-related content

  • In collaboration with ALEC and AGLS administration, and broadcasters at Bryan Broadcasting Corporation, ALEC faculty developed and maintain commercial radio signal (Fusion FM) connecting university scholarship, university events, and public service announcements with people across Texas. The commercial, 49,000 watt Fusion radio signal directly reaches up to an 80 mile radius of College Station, and the online (streaming) signal can be accessed worldwide.
  • Audio content is developed and tested to reach and resonate with the diverse audiences, and motivate targeted audiences to react in a predicted, desired way. Specifically, the station programming is focused on reaching a largely non-agriculture aware, Millennial audience. Developing and testing innovative ways of delivering agriculture-related content through this broadcast and online medium improves the reach and effectiveness of engaging and informing the public.
  • Since ALEC launched Fusion FM in August of 2015, students have developed more than 20,000 hours of audio programming, specifically created to reach the difficult-to-engage Millennial audience. To build a larger audience base, Fusion radio programming has included more than 4,000 hours of play-by-play sports coverage of local baseball, softball, volleyball, and football games, all of which has been produced by students enrolled in ALEC’s radio program. Further, Fusion radio is part of the Learfield Sports Network, which provides Texas A&M University football coverage to up to 9 million Spanish speaking Texans each football season. Consequently, Fusion radio is an affiliate of the largest NCAA sports network in the U.S. and the largest-reaching university sports broadcast in the NCAA.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


More than 30 students enrolled in Agricultural Media Writing I served as the media panel for the Texas Statewide Media Trainings provided by the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications. Media training participants include farmers and ranchers in Texas, Extension professionals, and elected officials. The 30 students questioned more that 75 which was consistent with previous semesters providing the same training opportunities.

Submitted by Holli Leggette, PhD


Preparing students to tackle big projects in a team setting can be difficult in the classroom. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Agricultural Communications and Journalism program teamed up in 2016 to provide students with a real-world project that taught them valuable skills in critical thinking, team work and audience identification. Students in the advanced public relations class formed teams to identify and illustrate ways to promote the new University Gardens to on-campus, local off-campus and state-wide audiences. The student teams had weekly meetings with the client (the College’s communications staff) and with their instructor, they planned their own team meetings and assignments and, at the end of the term, presented their plans to the Garden’s steering committee including Dean Mark Hussey. The winning team was honored at the end of the semester and ideas and plans from all three groups will help move the Gardens project forward.

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


Through project-based learning in Agricultural Media Writing, Agricultural Publication Production, Design for Agricultural Media and Agricultural Photography, AGCJ students increase their critical thinking and problem thinking skills. Students have developed news stories, public relations plans, agricultural publications, photo gallery displays, branding guides and marketing videos for local non-profit organizations. High-impact learning experiences prepare students for fast-paced, dynamic careers in agriculture and non-agricultural sectors.

Publication of student work in the Texas A&M newsletters, websites, magazines and other media outlets highlight the people, research, and projects in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that make agriculture a safe, secure, and sustainable industry.

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2016/04/11/when-texas-freezes-over/

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2016/02/22/the-internship-finding-the-right-gig-for-you/

Aggies on the Air

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2015/01/27/doc-an-american-dreamer/

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2015/02/05/chair-position-creates-lasting-legacy-for-professor-at-texas-am/

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2014/11/17/texas-am-potato-breeding-program-developing-new-high-yielding-potato-the-reveille-russet/

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


Students enrolled in Agricultural Media Writing II assist in disseminating scientific information to the public by crafting compelling feature stories about agricultural topics, aimed at various target publications.

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


43 students enrolled in Agricultural Media Writing II judged 238 speech manuscripts for the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Public Speaking Contest. ALEC students used their communications expertise to give back to the HLSR community, and to further develop the messaging and communications skills of future industry leaders.

Submitted by Tobin Redwine, PhD


Employers seek graduates who have published work; however, academic programs may not provide students with opportunities to publish. To increase publication opportunities, students worked with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Event and Outreach Coordinator to disseminate stories related to teaching, research, and service within the College. Therefore, six of the 47 students enrolled in Agricultural Media Writing II assisted in disseminating scientific information to broad audiences, which was up from one student publishing as a part of the course in previous semesters. The information was published in local, regional, and national news outlets with circulation numbers up to 44,000.

Submitted by Holli Archer, PhD


More that 125 students enrolled in Journalism Concepts in Agriculture assisted in disseminating scientific information to broad audiences by developing infographics about agricultural issues, which was up from zero students in previous semesters. The 50 students work in groups to produce infographics about agricultural issues to post on ALEC’s social media outlets, which have a followership of more than 2,000.

Thirty-two students enrolled in Social Media in Agriculture and Emerging Media in Agriculture have assisted in disseminating scientific information to broad audiences by developing social media strategies for five organizations in Texas, . The 32 students have worked in nine groups to produce social media strategies for seven platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Submitted by Holli Archer, PhD


More than 200 students participate annually in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s internship program. Students from Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications and other college and university departments work in teams to help educate more than 2.48 million school children and the general public about modern agriculture, plants, animals and food processing during the three-week long event. The intern involvement also contributes to the Show’s more than $12.5 million in new scholarships to Texas youth, improving the overall Texas economy by increasing Texan’s earning capacity.

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD

Show Archived Impact Statements

Life-long learning is critical to success in today’s fast-moving society. Live media training sessions for early-career county Extension agents help these community change agents think critically about their knowledge, about their audience and about the best way to explain information. The impact of their 5 minutes in the hot seat is more clear and concise communication of health, safety, economic and information to the more than 570,000 educational contacts reached across Texas (2013 numbers).

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


Life-long learning is critical to success in today’s fast-moving society. Live media training sessions for early-career county Extension agents help these community change agents think critically about their knowledge, about their audience and about the best way to explain information. The outcome of their 5 minutes in the spotlight is a better understanding of communicating through various media outlets and strategies for communicating key information in a concise and clear manner.

 Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


Watching professionals who are already part of the workforce learning new skills and strategies illustrates life-long learning. College students who serve are the media for live-media training sessions for early-career county Extension agents gives the students a front-row view of the need for life-long learning. The students gain confidence as future media members and they see themselves 10 years from still learning how to do their jobs better.

 Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


High-impact experiences take classroom activities from the “pretend” to the real. Working with real clients and real problems helps students to see the longer-term situations. The real issues encountered by real clients reinforce classroom learning and encourage critical thinking that crosses not only multiple courses, but students’ entire lifetime of experiences. Seeing all of the pieces come together adds to the value of their education.

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


More than 200 students participate annually in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s internship program. ALEC students, and students from across the college and university, work in teams to help educate school children and the general public about modern agriculture, plants, animals and food processing during the three-week long event that draws more than 2 million visitors.

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


Helping audiences understand complicated issues is critical to the success of any democratic society. Agricultural communications and journalism faculty, students and former students now in industry worth together to conduct media training sessions for current and future agriculture leaders. The sessions teach critical thinking about difficult agricultural issues, teamwork, dealing with high-pressure situations with media outlets and how to answer questions about complicated and controversial issues in agriculture.

Submitted by Deborah Dunsford, PhD


Through project-based learning in Agricultural Media Writing II (AGCJ 314),  AGCJ students increase their critical thinking and problem thinking skills. Students have developed news stories, public relations plans, agricultural publications, and marketing videos for local non-profit organizations. High-impact learning experiences prepare students for fast-paced, dynamic careers in agriculture and non-agricultural sectors.

Publication of student work in the Texas A&M newsletters, websites, magazines and other media outlets highlight the people, research, and projects in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that make agriculture a safe, secure, and sustainable industry.

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2015/01/27/doc-an-american-dreamer/

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2015/02/05/chair-position-creates-lasting-legacy-for-professor-at-texas-am/

http://aglifesciences.tamu.edu/blog/2014/11/17/texas-am-potato-breeding-program-developing-new-high-yielding-potato-the-reveille-russet/

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD and Holli Leggette-Archer, PhD


Current students have become actively engaged in agricultural advocacy projects to increase knowledge and awareness of agriculture on the Texas A&M campus. Projects such as the April 12, 2012, Farmer’s Fight have been led by AGCJ students to increase the public communication through many social media outlets. This activism demonstrates students understanding of the need to find new ways to create an informed society that is able to make better food and fiber choices in their own lives.

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD


It is the responsibility of agricultural education to educate and inform the public and policy makers about agriculture, food, and natural resources.  Reaching the public and policy-makers requires agricultural educators to understand the most effective behaviors, characteristics, and techniques to convey information to these groups. More than 1,500 Extension educators from 30 states contributed to the development of an assessment to measure effective behaviors, characteristics, and techniques associated with effective teaching in non-formal settings. Effective teaching measures were incorporated into a three-component model to assess effective teaching in extension education.  Triangulation of teacher effectiveness in extension education provides credible and valid evaluation data for extension educators and state administrators, and could provide long-term improvement in extension program delivery for local stakeholders.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


11.  ALEC prepares teachers of agricultural science equipped with the knowledge and understandings, skills and abilities, and motivation and attitudes to plan, develop, deliver, and evaluate educational programs in agricultural science for youth. Youth, then, are equipped more fully to enter the workforce or to engage in higher education in agriculture and other related sciences and technologies.

Show Impact Statements

Over 1,875 Agricultural science teachers in Texas are tasked with providing instructions to more than 120,000 middle and high school students each year. They need to upgrade the skills of these teachers is increasing with the adoption of new technologies and new state standards. ALEC Faculty host over a dozen workshops for teachers in areas including STEM Integration, Designing and Constructing Agricultural Mechanics Projects, Pesticide Application, Veterinary Technician, Grant Writing, Greenhouse Management, Supervised Agricultural Experience Program management.

Impact: Over 600 teachers reached at Areas III MidWinter, AgEd Academy, VATAT Conference, improving the learning experience of 40,000 students.

Submitted by Tim Murphy, PhD


ALEC prepares graduates who become instructional/school leaders in Texas. Dr. Kim Alexander, superintendent, Roscoe Collegiate ISD, and Jacob Tiemann, STEM Academy Director, Roscoe Collegiate ISD, are graduates of our joint doctoral program and our undergraduate teacher certification program, respectively. RCISD has emerged as a model program for rural schools in Texas—with designations as and recognition for an Early College High School, STEM Academy, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) demonstration school, school-wide 4-H program, and industry-recognized certification programs. There are numerous examples throughout the state of these educational leaders (e.g., Dr. Thomas Randle, superintendent, Lamar Consolidated ISD, http://www.lcisd.org/trustees/bios/dr-thomas-randle, Adren Pilger, superintendent, Roundtop-Carmine ISD, Pete J. Bienski, superintendent, Mumford ISD, Michelle Pieniazek, principal, Krum High School, Gail Pieniazek, dean of students, East Central High School, Barney McClure, executive director, Vocational Agricultural Teachers’ Association of Texas/VATAT, and treasurer, Texas FFA Foundation, Dr. Jeff Ripley, associate director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dr. Chris Boleman, director, Texas 4-H and Youth Development, and Dr. A. Wynn Rosser, executive director, TempleFoundation).

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


TAMU Instructional Materials Service faculty support the equipping of approximately 1800 agricultural science and 200 transportation, distribution, and logistics teachers in 1000 school districts with appropriate knowledge and understandings by managing the Texas Educational Agency Educational Excellence project.  As new courses are offered in Texas, local instructional budgets and IMAT funding streams from the state have remained flat or declined, while costs have increased approximately 15%.  Resources developed through this project are delivered electronically on a complimentary basis. This allows approximately 1000 school districts to make use of zero-cost electronically-delivered resources. Professional development relative to this Educational Excellence effort allows school districts to increase the effectiveness of instruction and respond to changing curriculum standards while reducing costs of instruction, responding, addressing teacher preparation issues.  This process allows school districts to leverage IMAT funds as needed, and reduces locally-funded expenditures.  Research shows that better-prepared high school graduates earn an average of $200 more per week than non-graduates, and approximately 30% more over their working lifetime.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


As chair of the faculty senate critical task force on four year graduation rates, I have learned that the state of Texas and Texas A&M University are highly committed to ensuring students graduate in a timely manner.   Graduation rates not only impact University accreditation, they impact Texans by allowing them to enter the workplace sooner and with less debt.  This knowledge paired with my work preparing high school agricultural science teachers allows me to assist in positively impacting graduation rates.  

According to the Texas Education Agency, students who complete high school agricultural science courses finish college at a 5% greater rate and are scheduled for an on time graduation at a 30% higher rate than the general population.

Submitted by Julie Harlin, PhD


Students who study agricultural science matriculate to colleges and universities at the same rates as their peers who did not study agricultural science. But they graduate at a 5% higher rate. Thus, about 100 more agricultural science former students graduate from college annually compared to an equal number of their peers attending college. These graduates earn $26,038 more than those who do not. This computes to additional income of $2,603,800 annually.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


Through national professional development, service and educational outreach, ALEC faculty work with over 4,500 secondary level agriscience programs, which, through student educational experiential learning projects develops over $278 million in economic impacts to their respective communities and is a 50% increase from 2014.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


The need to reintegrate skills acquisition throughout education is supported and well documented at many levels. Having an educated and skilled work force is an essential ingredient of a productive future for the country. Skills are simply not as easily transferred as facts and concepts. “It can’t be downloaded, it can only be lived” (Crawford, 2009. p. 162).  The impact of accentuating STEM concepts and principles through agricultural mechanics skills acquisition, within the Agricultural Science Teacher Education Program at Texas A&M University, produces high quality Agricultural Science Graduates certified to teach Agricultural Science and Technology in the formative 6-12 grades, community colleges, and trade institutions.

Impact: Fifty agriscience teachers certified per year, each teaching 100 high students, equals 5,000 additional students each year who are receiving enhanced STEM education and are available for this high demand career field.

Submitted by Tim Murphy, PhD


Within the state of Texas, ALEC faculty conduct professional development, service, and educational outreach that affect 850 agriscience programs, which develops over $90 million in economic impacts to their respective communities, which is a 30% increase from 2014.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Student teaching at Texas A&M University in agricultural science education is the ultimate high impact experience. Students complete a semester long experience where they are immersed in a local school district and plan, instruct, manage and coordinate all things related to a total agricultural science program. These students will instruct approximately 5,000 secondary students across the state of Texas in subjects ranging from animal science to horticulture and agricultural mechanics to agribusiness. The agricultural science major certifies approximately 50 students for careers in teaching agricultural science education in secondary schools per year.  The impact of these graduates will be seen for years to come as they shape the future of agricultural education.

Submitted by AGSC Program Area


Show Archived Impact Statements

Several hundred TAMU-prepared/educated teachers of agricultural science teach annually several 10’s of 10,000’s of secondary school students knowledge, skills, and abilities in agricultural science and technology. These students, in turn, become agribusiness people, agricultural scientists, agricultural producers, agricultural marketing specialists, agricultural technicians, etc, in Texas and across the nation. The academic efforts in agricultural science teacher preparation are multiplied 100-fold by the teachers of agricultural science from that program.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


The need to reintegrate skills acquisition throughout the agricultural science curriculum is supported and well documented at many levels. Having an educated and skilled work force is an essential ingredients for a productive future for our country. Skills are simply not as easily transferred as facts and concepts. Practical know-how, on the other hand, is always tied to the experience of a particular person. It can’t be downloaded, it can only be lived (Crawford, 2009. p. 162).”  The impact of accentuating STEM concepts and principles within agricultural mechanics courses where skills acquisition is emphasized within the Agricultural Science Teacher Education Program at Texas A&M University produces high quality Agricultural Science Graduates. The scope of the impact is:50 student teachers graduating per year teaching 100 high students each equals 5,000 additional students each year who are receiving enhanced STEM education each year.

Submitted by Tim Murphy, PhD


The numbers of students who matriculate to Texas A&M University alone and who give credit to their ag science teacher are evidence that this is true. Thirty-five years of influence on these young and not-so-young teachers is proof-positive that SOMETHING has worked.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD


Serving as chair of the Faculty Senate Critical Task Force on four year graduation rates has opened my eyes to some of the issues impacting the ranking of Texas A&M University amongst our peer institutions.  Developing strategies to improve the four year graduation rate at our institution dramatically lowers cost of education for students and the state of Texas.

Submitted by Julie Harlin, PhD


As an academic adviser in the AGSC program, I strive to assist students in thinking through their challenges and learn new skills to assist them on their academic journey. I give them the tools needed to constantly learn and expand their decision making abilities related to their academic career planning. This helps improve their critical thinking abilities leading them to become lifelong learners and participants in all facets of their education.

Submitted by Julie Harlin, PhD


Developing high quality curriculum materials for teachers to use in their courses helps the teacher and the student be successful. Through innovative curriculum design and development, teachers are able to more easily impact student learning; they also save time in terms of planning and are able to focus their energy on increasing student learning through engagement activities rather than simply finding good information to teach. My efforts to provide quality curriculum materials have positive impacts on students and teachers in our state.

Submitted by Julie Harlin, PhD


Losing new teachers costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year.  Statewide efforts to improve new agricultural science teacher retention across our state not only save taxpayer dollars, but increase the quality of education for students in our state by ensuring that highly qualified and capable teachers are available to engage learners and help them develop lifelong skills in career and technical education.

Submitted by Julie Harlin, PhD


My efforts support the equipping of agricultural science and transportation, distribution, and logistics teachers with appropriate knowledge and understandings by managing the TEA Educational Excellence project. Resources developed through this project are delivered electronically on a complimentary basis. I also partner in the management of our Advanced Plant & Soil Science contracts. Workshops and other outreach efforts are geared to further the familiarity with the resources available through this project and the contract, as appropriate. There are approximately 1800 agricultural science teachers and 200 TDL teachers in Texas. This information is also presented to teachers at nationwide venues. STEM and other integration efforts are a major emphasis of this project. We are repositioning IMS as a source of high-value professional development through sponsorship of the CASE Institute and other summer workshops for teachers.

Submitted by Kirk Edney, PhD


The agricultural science major prepares students for careers in teaching agricultural science education in secondary schools. Currently, Texas and many other states are experiencing a critical shortage of agricultural science teachers. One avenue for recruitment and retention of professionals in agricultural education is to reach out to our community college partners with agricultural programs. An articulation agreement was reached between the Agricultural Science major at Texas A&M and Blinn College to recruit more students into the Agricultural Science major. Students enrolled in agricultural classes at Blinn College are making more inquiries into academic programs within the ALEC department and faculty from the ALEC department at Texas A&M have partnered with Blinn College faculty to present information to prospective students seeking admission into Texas A&M University. A 10% increase in AGSC enrollment has been realized.

Submitted by John Rayfield, PhD and Roger Hanagriff, PhD


Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs) are a core educational focus, but are recognized in research and in practical applications declining in their ability to engage all students. A focus of preparation is to re-engage teachers to grow this area of agricultural education, by improving their SAE knowledge base, offering professional development regarding how students can track their SAE experiences, utilizing SAE experiences as a portion of their program of activities (POA), and communicating these results to school and community stakeholders.  My efforts are to focus on offering professional development, innovative education materials such as Explore SAE or the SAE Builder, and partnering with other educators to grow this portion of agricultural education.

Submitted by Roger Hanagriff, PhD


The educational system in the United States has faced tremendous scrutiny in recent years. Heightened efforts currently focus on reforming and improving the educational system. Educational programs targeting reform call for an increased focus on accountability, assessment, and data collection. A self-assessment protocol was developed as the first step in validating effective teaching within agricultural education, based on the input of 1,631 agriculture teachers in 37 states. Additionally, a three component framework was developed to guide future needs assessments and evaluation of agricultural education teachers. The self-assessment protocol and model contribute to increased accountability, assessment, and data collection; thereby, improving the educational system.

Submitted by Billy McKim, PhD


The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications is quite diverse in its preparation of students to enter the world of work. The agricultural science group is given the awesome task of preparing students to become agricultural; science teachers. Gary R. Howard in the book We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know, asked a profound question “Why are they sending these kids to us?” The growing population of students of color in public schools calls for prepared teachers. Making our student teachers aware of the individuals they will teach in future classrooms is of great necessity. Recent studies show that Whites represent 90% of public school teachers, and that figure will remain high or possibly grow in the next five years

Submitted by Alvin Larke, Jr., PhD


12.  ALEC provides opportunities for students and faculty to broaden their perspectives from Texas to the nation and to the world. Study away and study abroad programs engage students and faculty to increase their knowledge and understanding of global issues and opportunities.

Show Impact Statements

Students and faculty have an increasingly larger and wider perception of the world and of their responsibility and ability to affect the world in which we live and work. Interconnectedness of peoples and countries of the world results in professional and personal relationships; these relationships enable collaboration and partnering to attack problems of hunger, inequality, social injustice, disease, and poverty.

Submitted by Gary Briers, PhD

Show Archived Impact Statements

In 2013, 62 ALEC students participated in study abroad programs and received $78,500 in university scholarship support. Seven faculty members led five study abroad programs to Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Greece, and Namibia. These programs involved educational networking with international universities and faculty members. Students contributed to local communities through volunteer work, experienced local culture working with agriculturists and students, and research and conservatory centers.

Submitted by Tracy Rutherford, PhD

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