Progress 08/01/05 to 07/31/09
The MDC North Agricultural Career Exploration (ACE) grant initiative was designed to prepare minority students for careers in Florida's expanding Agribusiness Sector. In the past two years we have not only completed but exceeded our grant objectives. To address grant objective 1 - create an introductory horticulture college credit course, we created course competencies to introduce students to the world of horticulture. We also developed an additional series of courses that led to our college credit certificates thus meeting grant objective 2 - create a certificate program in horticulture. The horticulture certificates were created in response to a growing demand for a skilled workforce prepared for employment in this industry. The Horticulture Specialist certificate is a 12 college credit hour program that prepares students for immediate entry level employment in landscaping and nursery industries. Courses include broad-based exposure to the necessary skills and practices in-field, including horticulture, landscape plant identification, nursery practices and entomology. The Horticultural Professional certificate is an 18 college credit hours program that was designed as an extension of Horticultural Specialist certificate. The additional college credit hours in this certificate are designed to prepare students for managerial positions within the industry. Our two new certificate programs were offered for the first time in the spring of 2009. The curriculum showcases the various living laboratories that we have created on MDC's North Campus. Objective 3 was designed to create a new instructional delivery system through the design and creation of a living laboratory. We have exceeded expectations in regards to this objective and have actually created a total of six, new living laboratories on our Science Complex grounds. The living laboratories include a greenhouse, a shade house, a nursery bed, and a 3.6 acre Palmetum, as well as, an orchid/bromeliad display greenhouse and a botanical garden. Objective 4 and 5, which addressed student recruitment and transfer assistance, were completed by placing students into our classrooms and advising them through internship experiences along with communicating student opportunities via out interactive web site. Our inaugural college credit certificate class had a total of 38 enrollees. A total of 32 certificates have been awarded; 19 students completed the Horticulture Specialist and 13 students completed the Horticulture Professional certificate. Many students are continuing to pursue their formal education or are seeking job placement. Objective 6 was completed by development of our internship course as well as our web site which provides insight into careers in the agrisciences. And finally objective 7, which was designed to create and award scholarships, was completed following the award of 36 scholarships and 21 stipends. Overall, the grant has exceeded expectations by creating a multitude of coursework and living laboratories to support development and delivery of professionals that are not only aware of the opportunities in the agriscience industry but are also prepared for employment. PRODUCTS: Under the ACE grant initiative, we developed all course competencies and associated coursework for two new college credit certificate programs. The certificates include a 12 college credit hours certificate for the Horticultural Specialist and an 18 credit hour certificate for the Horticultural Professional. Students pursuing the first certificate take coursework in horticulture, landscape plant identification, nursery practices, and entomology which provide them with a firm foundation in botany, plant care and production, and pest and land management. Students choosing to pursue the second certificate also get hands-on technical experience via a horticultural internship and take a course in business management. Our initial student cohort contained 38 enrollees. Of those, 36 scholarships were awarded to cover the full cost of tuition, books and a small stipend. Of the scholarship and stipend recipients, 27% were female, 63% were Hispanic, and 25% were Black, which emphasizes the strong diversity and high representation of minorities being served under this grant. Under the ACE grant, we have also created a variety of living laboratories which currently include a greenhouse, shade house, nursery bed, and Palmetum that sit on the grounds of our new Science Complex, which includes a display greenhouse and botanical garden. The working greenhouse currently houses over 100 specimens, the majority of which are germinating palm seeds that will be moved to the shade house as they enter the seedling phase .The shade house also contains over 100 palms, some of which have been established for permanent indoor display, but most of which will eventually be transplanted into the Palmetum. The shade house and greenhouse are fully operational and actively used in the instructional delivery of the coursework associated with our college credit certificates. The 3.6 acre Palmetum is the centerpiece of our living laboratories. Designed by two contest-winning MDC Architecture students, it is the only site of its kind in the state of Florida. The Palmetum currently boasts over 550 palms representing over 400 species from every palm growing region of the world (the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Australasia), some of which are endangered or are of particular research interest. The Palmetum is currently operational and open for touring, classroom related activities and well as special events, such as Earth Day celebrations. The display greenhouse contains mainly orchid and bromeliad species and is surrounded by a botanical garden, which contains bromeliads, gingers, begonias, succulents, and cacti. Collectively, these products provide Miami Dade College students a centralized, diversified, and aesthetically-appealing learning environment. OUTCOMES: The courses associated with our two college credit certificates were offered for the first time during the spring 2009 semester. The courses included horticulture, landscape plant identification, entomology, nursery practices, small business management, and the capstone internship experience. Twenty-eight students enrolled in our introductory Horticulture I class, 25 of which successfully completed the course with a grade of "C" or better. Twenty-six students enrolled in our Principles of Entomology course, 21 of which successfully completed the course with a grade of "D" or better. Twenty-four students registered in our Nursery Practices I course, 21 of which successfully completed the course with a grade of "D" or better. Twenty-five students registered for our Landscape Plant Identification I course, 22 of which successfully completed the course with a grade of "D" or better. Twenty-four students registered for the Horticulture Internship course, 14 of which successfully completed the course with a grade of "C" or better. Under our ACE grant initiative, we awarded a total of 36 scholarships and 21 stipends to cover the costs of tuition, books and supplies. Of the scholarship recipients, 19 students were awarded the Horticulture Specialist College Credit Certificate and 13 students successfully completed the Horticulture Professional Certificate. Of the non-scholarship recipients, two students successfully passed all classes in which they were enrolled. Of our scholarship recipients, 27% were female, 63% were Hispanic, and 25% were Black, which emphasizes the strong diversity and high representation of minorities being served under this grant. A total of 336 college credit hours have been successfully completed in response to this grant initiative. Moreover, a total of 32 college credit certificates were awarded during the inaugural offering of this program. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: We continue to work closely with our local feeder high schools and middle schools to promote agriscience education. We also run a summer camp that serves to promote our courses and showcase our living laboratories. Over the course of the past year we have served as host to over 500 students the majority of which have participated in our Palm Hunt. The Palm Hunt is a game that we have designed which is similar to an Easter egg hunt except participants are sent into our Palmetum and must identify the location of various specimens based on a series of photographs. The winners are awarded a small program memento, but more importantly leave our campus with a basic knowledge of the diversity of palms from around the world. We have also participated in events and lectures sponsored by the Science Quest Lecture Series, Fairchild Gardens Challenge, Earth Ethics Institute, South Florida Palm Society, and Montgomery Botanical Garden. We have produced a bilingual news programs that has aired on the College's television station, MDCTV, and have conducted a bilingual flyer mailing campaign. Moreover, all of these activities are linked to our website http://www.mdc.edu/main/ace/, which serves as a hub for program outreach and student networking. FUTURE INITIATIVES: Due to the overwhelming success of our first student cohort, we are gearing-up for a second offering in the spring of 2010. We are also planning to expand our program's living laboratories which currently include a greenhouse, shade house, nursery bed, and Palmetum that sit adjacent to our new Science Complex, which includes a display greenhouse and botanical garden.
A total of 336 college credit hours have been successfully completed in response to this grant initiative. Moreover, a total of 32 college credit certificates were awarded during the inaugural offering of this program. A total of 36 scholarships and 21 stipends were awarded to cover the costs of tuition, books and supplies. Of the scholarship recipients, 19 students were awarded the Horticulture Specialist College Credit Certificate and 13 students successfully completed the Horticulture Professional Certificate. Of our scholarship recipients, 27% were female, 63% were Hispanic, and 25% were Black, which emphasizes the strong diversity and high representation of minorities that were served under this grant.
- Horticulture Class Descriptions Flyer (English), Jennifer Foss, 2008
- Horticulture Class Descriptions Flyer (Spanish), Jennifer Foss, 2008
- Horticulture Program Class Offerings Flyer, Jennifer Foss, 2008 Horticulture Technology Pamphlet, Heather Belmont and Steven Ritter, 2008
- ACE Scholarship Program Pamphlet, Heather Belmont and Steven Ritter, 2008
- Website: http://www.mdc.edu/main/ace/, Heather Belmont, Steven Ritter, and Dawn Santiago-Colon, 2008
Progress 08/01/07 to 07/31/08
The MDC North Agricultural Career Exploration (ACE) Project is designed not only to prepare minority students for careers in Florida's expanding Agribusiness sector, but to assist them with post-graduation job placement as well. Various disasters like active hurricane seasons, during which man-hours were lost and facilities were damaged, and delays in the construction of our new Science Complex, Botanical Garden and adjacent living laboratory facilities, initially delayed implementation of our project. However, over the past year we made great strides toward the fulfillment of our grant objectives and anticipate full completion following enrollment of our first program cohort and dissemination of our scholarship funds to those students Major progress is best highlighted by the establishment of our living laboratories. Our shadehouse is already operational and the 3.6 acre palmetum is available for touring. Installation of the mister system in November 2008 will complete our greenhouse, and the adjacent Science Complex and Botanical Garden will be complete soon afterwards. Two new certificate programs (Horticultural Specialist and Horticultural Professional) have been officially approved for initiation by the College and several dissemination activities are underway to establish and award scholarships to our first program cohort. Also, a Project Coordinator has been hired to oversee final implementation of this important project. PRODUCTS: In accordance with Florida state standards and the recommendations of our focus group we have developed two new college credit certificate programs. Both have already been approved by our College for implementation: Horticultural Specialist and Horticultural Professional. Horticultural Specialist requires 12 credit hours, Horticulture I (3 credit hours), Landscape Plant Identification I (3 credit hours), Nursery Practices (3 credit hours), and Principles of Entomology (3 credit hours) which provides the student a firm foundation in botanical theory, plant care/production, pest control, land management and offers career guidance in the Agrisciences. The Horticultural Professional Certificate expands on the former to include: Small Business Management (3 credit hours) and Horticulture Technology Internship (3 credit hours) which prepares the student for managerial positions in Agribusiness while providing an opportunity for practical experience and networking during the requisite 18 credit hours. We have nearly completed three new living laboratories (together tentatively named the Center for the Study of Tropical and Urban Horticulture (CSTUH)) in pursuit of innovative instructional delivery systems for our students and the community. A shade house is already operational, housing over 30 species of sun-sensitive palms. Installation of the mister system and fans is slated for November 2009 and thus will complete our greenhouse. The crowning glory of the CSTUH is our new palmetum which spans over 3.6 acres and was designed by two Miami Dade College - North Campus architecture students. The design was chosen from six submissions and truly highlights the beauty of the different palm species and the regions of their origin. The only of its kind in the state of Florida, the palmetum currently boasts over 150 palm species from every palm-growing region in the world (the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia) and is already available for tours and community events. Adjacent to CSTUH will be a new 70,000 square foot Science Complex, also set to house a Botanical Garden displaying Bromeliads, Gingers, Begonias, Succulents, and Cacti. Together these structures will provide a centralized, yet diversified environment for ACE participant study. OUTCOMES: Our largest accomplishments this year were establishment of the CSTUH, as discussed above, and approval of our two new certificate programs in the Agrisciences. The Miami Dade College - North Campus student architects instrumental in the design of our palmetum have been informally recognized by our Campus President and will be formally honored during the official opening reception of the CSTUH with a plaque that will be prominently displayed on the property. Further outcomes will be reported once data on student participation and success is gathered following spring enrollment in our certificate programs and courses. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: We are currently working with our feeder high schools which are predominately Hispanic or African American to promote our programs and the living laboratories that we have created. Response from them has been predominantly positive, despite some concerns of both parents and students about Agriscience prior to development and introduction to our new programs. Departmentally, we have hosted and participated in the Science Quest Lecture Series, the Fairchild Gardens Challenge, Earth Ethics Institute and South Florida Palm Society events and have used these forums to highlight our new programs. We have also conducted middle and high school tours of the CSTUH and have worked with local English language media (i.e. the local NBC Affiliate), several Spanish-language media outlets ( El Nuevo Herald, Univision and Telemundo), and a Creole-language radio station to promote our programs and Agriscience to the community. Our cumulative efforts have been synthesized into a brand new website that has been designed especially to highlight our new programs and scholarships, and to expose students and the community to Agriscience opportunities including those offered at the USDA and CSREES. FUTURE INITIATIVES: Outreach to local high schools and middle schools will continue, including field trips to CSTUH sites. We are also awaiting our initial cohort of certificate students and to distribute our scholarship funds. A new Biotechnology Program, with its focus on tissue culture, genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism/homeland security, will also enhance the goals of ACE program participants upon its inception. Other expansions are currently under consideration and will likely include additional plant acquisitions for the CSTUH.
We are not currently able to quantify the impacts of the project. However, we anticipate that it will attract local minority students, notably Hispanics, to the Sciences and will encourage them to consider the opportunities afforded by the field of Agriscience.
- Horticulture Technology Pamphlet, Heather Belmont and Steven Ritter, 2008
- Ace Scholarship Program Pamphlet, Heather Belmont and Steven Ritter, 2008
- Website: http://www.mdc.edu/main/ace/, Heather Belmont, Steven Ritter, and Dawn Santiago-Colon, 2008
Progress 08/01/06 to 07/31/07
The MDC-North Campus Agricultural Career Exploration (ACE) project is designed to teach minority students about careers in the growing agriculture sector of Florida. Initiated in August of 2005, this project has experienced a series of delays dues to the passing of several hurricanes that caused both facilities damage and loss of work. In addition, the North Campus is in the process of building a new, 70,000 sf. Science Complex, which will house all of the Natural Science Laboratories, and faculty offices. The construction has been delayed for a multitude of reasons involving the architects, engineers and water management. A critical component of our grant is the dedicated green houses and arboretum, which are to be located adjacent to the new facility. Fortunately, despite the continued delays we are happy to report that we are finally seeing significant progress to terms of both construction of the new Science Complex as well as the green houses and arboretum. In
fact, we have procured the green house structures and over 150 different species of palm varieties for the arboretum.
PRODUCTS: The Agricultural Career Exploration (ACE) course was developed as a foundation course that will allow students to explore career opportunities and the basic principles of the agrisciences. More specifically, this course will investigate the basic theories of plant nutrients, soil types, and provide students with a survey of the various occupations in the agrisciences. The course will be offered for the first time during the summer of 2008 at the MDC-North Campus. As per the directives provided by our needs assessment teams, we have developed two certificate options in commercial nursery growing operations and have identified their corresponding educational pathways. The first certificate, Landscape and Horticulture Specialist, will include courses in Horticulture 1 (3 credits), Landscape Plant Identification 1 (3 credits), Nursery Practices (3 credits) and Principles of Management (3 credits) for a total of 12 credits. The second certificate, Landscape and Horticulture
Professional, will expand on the baseline knowledge obtained by taking certificate 1, and will include courses on Horticulture 2 (3 credits), Landscape Plant Identification 2 (3 credits), Foliage Plant Production (3 credits), Plant Pathology (3 credits), Botany (3 credits) and Landscape Tech Internship (3 credits) for a total of 18 credits. The certificates need to be approved by our College review council and District Offices prior to full implementation. The green houses will be the first of our living laboratories implemented under this grant and they will be used to provide unique instructional environments and innovative instructional delivery systems for our new agriscience program. The green house structures were purchased and the foundations were formed. We are currently awaiting final stages of construction and anticipate usage in the spring/summer of 2008. In addition, we have also made great progress on creation of our arboretum. We have procured 3.6 acres of land, which
will be the future home of this living laboratory. The laboratory will boast palm species from all the palm-growing areas of the world including Caribbean Basin, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Indian and Pacific Ocean and Australia and will be a true one-of-a-kind environment for hands-on exploration and investigation in South Florida.
OUTCOMES: At this point in the development of the MDC-North Campus initiatives, a report on outcomes cannot be provided since date collection is related to student participation and success once all parameters are in place.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: Dr. Steven Ritter and his colleagues have participated in various outreach events into high schools and have concentrated their efforts on schools with agriscience programs. As a department, we have also hosted the Science Quest Lecture Series and have encouraged our students to interact with field experts in the areas of DNA analysis, tropical disease, the environment, and medicine. Finally, the instructors for our future agriscience program participated in the Fairchild Gardens Challenge, which hosts K-12 student participants and engages them in horticultural explorations at the nationally-recognized Fairchild Tropical Gardens.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: The curriculum developed for the program will be launched and will include enrollment of students. We plan to invite high school students to the implementation/opening of our new living laboratories. The new Biotechnology Program will offer courses in tissue culture and plant propagation/transgenic techniques which will enhance ACE objectives.
The anticipated impact of this project is to attract minority students to explore careers in the sciences. At this point, we are not able to quantify the impact of the MDC-North Campus project. We can predict that Hispanic and other minority students will benefit from the opportunities provided to them under this grant and enable them to secure job opportunities in this dynamic and growing field.
- No publications reported this period
Progress 08/01/05 to 07/31/06
Project Agricultural Career Exploration (ACE) is working to teach minority students about careers in the growing agriculture sector in Florida. Initiated in August 2005, this project has experienced delays in implementation due to the passing of several hurricanes that caused both facilities damage and loss of work time. In addition, access to students in both College and local High Schools was limited due to preparation for the state educational preparedness test, the FCAT, which is administered in the Spring. Delays in the planning and development of a new Science Complex on the Miami Dade College Campus, an important component to this grant, also limited implementation progress. To provide students with hands-on experience in commercial nursery growing operations, the project will utilize an Arboretum and Greenhouse as a part of the Science Complex. The design for Arboretum and an adjacent Botanic Garden as well as two greenhouses and a shade house have been
completed and approved for construction. These gardens and structure will be tentatively named Center for the Study of Tropical and Urban Horticulture (CSTUH). The original concept for the Arboretum was to utilize only Native trees; however, as more research and consideration was given to the purpose of the Arboretum, the decision was made to create a Palmerium- an Arboretum totally of Palms. Several major factors influenced this decision the major of which is the fact the Palms are extremely hurricane resistant and there is no other Botanical site in Florida specializing specifically on palms. The Arboretum will be arranged into world regions having palm species and those palms endemic to each region will be sought as specimens. The Botanic Garden, although not a part of this grant is closely aligned in design and structure in that it has been designed so that there is a planting section representing every major Plant Society in the South Florida region, i.e. Begonias, Bromeliads,
Gingers and others. Preparations to request bids and order the Greenhouse for immediate set up are underway. Prior to receipt of the USDA/CREES Grant, MDC-North Campus had been engaged in an Agri-Sciences Think Tank, attempting to identify opportunities for the College to pursue new fields of study. Thus upon receipt of the Grant, members of the Think Tank and other South Florida partners were invited to attend our USDA/CREES grant kick-off on November 30, 2005. Several High Schools with over 80% Hispanic student populations were invited.
PRODUCTS: An Agricultural Career Exploration course is under development to offer during summer 2007. A review of existing Agri-Sciences curriculum at MDC has occurred.MDC- North Campus has assumed the College leadership in Agri-Sciences. . A survey instrument to assess student knowledge Agri-Sciences areas of study will be administered at the College and at participating high schools. A certificate program in Horticulture/ Commercial Growing Operations is under development and pending progress through the curriculum process should be ready for August 2007. To identify high school students for the introductory agricultural career exploration course, five High Schools were identified as potential project partners by Miami Dade Public School District.. Four schools are predominantly Hispanic and one is predominantly Black. Informational meetings will be established with each School during the month of October, 2006. The possibility of establishing agriculture clubs at each school will
be considered. Several levels of recruitment information will be developed: materials generically specific to the College and North Campus and materials specific to our Grant efforts and Agri-Sciences. These materials will of necessity need to be extremely positive and professional since neither Hispanic nor other minority parents see Agriculture( Agri-Sciences) as a positive option for their children rather view it more as a demeaning profession since their reference is almost solely to farming and/or landscape installation and maintenance. Therefore, efforts are being made to establish meetings and presentations with parent groups to hopefully eradicate these misconceptions and to reveal the exciting dynamics and futures that lie in the various Agri-Sciences Fields. An Agri- Sciences Web Page will be developed during the current semester for utilization beginning January, 2007. The web page will contain all information relative to grant activities, new curriculum, scholarship
information as well as important links to other sources of helpful information such as USDA and CSREES. Visits to five High Schools with Agric-Sciences Programs and at least five middle schools are also being planned for October, 2006. Each of these middle schools have beginning Agri-Sciences curriculum in place and are feeder schools to the High School Agri-Science Magnate programs In December 2006, an invitation will be sent to all major growers in South Florida and to the major Plant Societies soliciting support and donations as well as participation on various developing advisory groups. The Palm Societies of south Florida will be invited to a presentation relative to the Palmerium-Arboretum for review and input as well as to seek their support and donations.
OUTCOMES: At this point in the development of the MDC-North Campus initiatives, a report on outcomes cannot be provided since data collection will be related to student participation and success once all the parameters are in place.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The following dissemination activities are being orchestrated: Development of a Web Page for Agri-Science at MDC.EDU, High School recruitment/Advisement visits, Advisory Board Meetings, Presentation to Parent/Teacher groups, Public Service Announcements on local Spanish language radio and television stations, Appearances on Spanish language and Creole Radio Station to explain possibilities in Agri-Sciences, Participation at higher Education Expos and College Career Fairs at schools, churches and other MDC campuses.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: Curriculum will be converted into an inquiry-based format to create an environment for encouraging and enhancing research among students and faculty. High School and Middle School students will be invited to attend field trips to CSTUH The project will work to expand opportunities in the fields of tissue culture, plant propagation, food safety, Bio-industries and aspects of Bio Terrorism and Domestic preparedness. Consider the possibilities of some form of Aquaculture Create a student business for the urban environment: Container Plants for Balconies and Patios
The anticipated impact of this project is to attract populations of minority students to scientific disciplines. At this point in time, we are not able to quantify the impacts of the MDC-North Campus project. We anticipate Hispanic and other minority students will be encouraged to consider the incredible variety of opportunities available to them in the Agri-Sciences Arena. Additionally, the project may attract adults back to education and the excitement of the sciences.
- No publications reported this period