Features — 20 September 2012

The Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture is expanding a secondary partnership program that will help address the demand for increased rigor and emphasis on college and career readiness. The program will form a link between secondary agricultural education and postsecondary education.

In 2010, the Hutson School of Agriculture began the initial phases for the Agriculture Bridge program now known as Racer Academy of Agriculture (RAA). The program offered two college courses in which secondary students were able to obtain both secondary and postsecondary credit. In the following semesters, the program doubled in size and there was a demand for a variety of additional courses.

The United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides a Capacity Building Grant for the Non Land Grant College of Agriculture Program. The program encourages awardees to carry out educational, research and outreach activities that address priority concerns of national, regional, state and local interest.

NIFA awarded $136,138 to expand the Racer Academy of Agriculture by developing new courses and increasing the number of secondary partners. The award will also be used to improve instructional procedure and gather data for evaluation, analysis and refinement.

As a result of the program, expansion students will benefit through gaining college course credit while in high school. The program also increases students’ readiness for college and career and encourages them to pursue degrees in food and agricultural sciences.

The lead investigator for the program expansion is Dr Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. Dr. Kimberly Bellah and Brandon Wilson will also provide services of as co-project directors. Bellah will serve as project evaluator and Wilson will serve as coordinator of the RAA.
For more information about the project, contact Brannon at tbrannon@murraystate.edu. To learn more about the United States Department of Agriculture, visit www.usda.gov.

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