IUSE: Farm Hub

Cultivating Scientific Literacy and Action through Place: Using a Campus Farm as an Interdisciplinary Learning Hub

Place-based, experiential (PBE) learning is an effective pedagogy that enhances student content knowledge, course engagement, critical thinking, and civic mindedness. This project is exploring the impact of PBE learning in the context of school gardens and campus farms. Since 1992, there has been a 15-fold increase in the number of college agriculture spaces, but, despite their broad interdisciplinary potential, these spaces are used narrowly for agriculture or sustainability majors, independent projects, and co-curricular activities that lack disciplinary diversity. This project will expand how college agriculture spaces can integrate STEM with the humanities, and foster cross-curricular scientific literacy, civic mindedness, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The project will explore efforts to critically assess the impact of agricultural spaces on students, faculty, and host institutions; and how such spaces can provide a holistic framework for learning STEM.

SEIRI Role: SEIRI is helping implement and assess a cohesive program of interdisciplinary urban agriculture-themed PBE modules in four Butler University courses using a campus farm as a hub for learning and collaboration. Specifically, SEIRI is implementing pre- and post- module surveys, observations, and focus groups to assess impacts related to 1) student course engagement, content knowledge, critical thinking, place attachment, and civic mindedness; 2) faculty teaching and research; and 3) distribution of institutional resources. Future applications will test efficacy of this approach in non-STEM courses and at other institutions.

SEIRI Personnel: Grant Fore; Amber Rollings; Brandon Sorge (Co-PI)

Collaborators: Julia Angstmann (PI, Butler)

Funding Organization: NSF Division of Undergraduate Education

RFP: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE)

Grant Status: Current (09/01/2016 - 08/31/2019)

Award #: 1609219

Award Amount: $296,377

STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
755 W. Michigan Street
University Library, UL 1123
Indianapolis, IN 46202-2800
Email: seiri@iupui.edu