At the beginning of February, the AgEd Club hosted their annual KSU Speech Contest in Bluemont Hall. There were over 180 Kansas FFA members competing and 45 K-State students helping throughout the day.
Categories of speeches included freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, creed, and extemporaneous.
K-State’s AGED graduates are ahead of the game when it comes to the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) certification.
In the past, many teachers completed this certification during the summer breaks of teaching. K-State’s program is one of only three with a course model that certifies students while they are still in college. Students are able to start teaching with one whole class plan under their belt. Many typically use these lesson plans for their freshman or introduction to agriculture class.
Students in the program go through 65 hours of professional development in a three credit course. In this rigorous class, students are challenged with concepts of inquiry-based instruction, the impact of scaffolding on year-long curriculum, and activity projects and problems. The course also requires students to prepare materials and supplies.
Master’s student and current student teacher at Cimarron High School, Brooke Harshaw (’16) says, “It’s fairly intense throughout the semester, but it’s helpful because you’re ready to go when you’re out student teaching.”
This is the second year the certification has been offered, and with the help of a grant provided by DuPont Pioneer, seven current agricultural education teachers were able to receive the certification during the course as well.
Some faculty, staff and students of the department attended the KSUnity Walk on Tuesday, November 14 from 1-3 p.m. During the walk, participants came from their respective campus buildings and met on Anderson Hall’s lawn. Then, the KSUnite program took place. Participants heard a message of unity and steps that all K-Staters can take as the community moves forward to be an ever more inclusive campus.
Thoughts from department members that attended:
“I was impressed by the turnout of people that attended.” – Kelly Ingalsbe, accountant
“It was neat that despite the weather there was still a sizeable turnout of attendees.” – Audrey King, instructor
“It was a really awesome sight to see so many K-Staters in purple and on the lawn.” – Lori Buss, accountant
“K-State’s unity walk was a step in the right direction toward making everyone on campus feel like family. It was nice to see mobs of purple supporting the event.” – Dr. Katie Burke, instructor
The search for a permanent department head is well underway. The 13 person search committee has reviewed application materials from several qualified candidates and three individuals have been invited to interview – Dr. David Doerfert, Texas Tech University; Dr. Jason Ellis, Kansas State University; and Dr. Dwayne Cartmell, Oklahoma State University. Candidates will interview in late November and early December.
The full interview itineraries will be shared and posted to the department website as soon as they are finalized.
For Katelyn Bohnenblust, FFA has been an integral part of her life she took her first agricultural class in the eighth grade. Now, as she begins her sophomore year at Kansas State University in the agricultural education program, it is still a foundational part of her life but in a different way.
Recently, Bohnenblust was selected through a strenuous screening process to serve as a nominating committee member for the 90th National FFA Convention, which takes place at the end of October in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a nominating committee member, Bohnenblust, along with eight other committee members from across the nation, will interview 41 national officer candidates for six national officer positions over the course of 11 days.
Few have the honor to serve on this committee. Bohnenblust is just the third Kansan to ever be selected.
Graduating from college is no easy feat, but for one agricultural education alumnus, it just wasn’t enough. Will Johnson (’17) has went above and beyond after graduation from Kansas State University.
After student teaching in the spring of 2017 at Cimarron High School, he took a leap and accepted a job as a teacher at Sublette High School, a nearby school that didn’t have an FFA program – that quickly changed.
During the summer, Johnson converted the essentially unused shop from storage to a working environment and began paperwork to start an FFA program at the school.
Johnson, a Whitewater, Kansas, native, says, “I really like the area and the people out here. It seemed like a chance to start something new for the community.”
This fall he is teaching an introduction to agriculture class for eighth graders and an agriculture, food, and natural resources class; an animal science class; and an agricultural structures class for high school students. In the future, he hopes to add a plant and soil science class and research in agriculture class to the curriculum.
A little over a year ago, Dr. Gaea (Wimmer) Hock (’03, ’06) and Dr. Jonathan Ulmer joined the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education as agricultural education faculty.
Throughout the past year, these two have been busy preparing students to go back into the classroom as teachers, adding technology into their projects, and igniting positive change within the program. One prominent change they are working on together, with the help of instructor Brandie Disberger, is to revise the agricultural education curriculum credit hours and add three new courses to the program.
In addition to teaching courses, Hock also offers opportunities for students to conduct undergraduate research projects regarding agricultural education and FFA programs in the state. Furthermore, she intends to lead a study abroad trip to the Czech Republic in the future.
The agricultural education program has more opportunities than ever, and students are noticing.
“For teachers looking for new ideas in their classrooms, who don’t feel like they have the time during the school year, CASE is a great way to prepare yourself for a more rigorous and STEM-focused class,” says Brandie Disberger, agricultural education instructor.
Alumnus Jay O’Brien (’13) did not begin his college career knowing he wanted to be an agricultural education major.
“I came from a family that homesteaded in the 1800s in the Cherryvale area, so I originally thought I might want to be a farmer or rancher, or even considered engineering,” O’Brien says. “I found a niche at K-State in the Agricultural Education Club and within my agriculture classes. From there, I started to be more involved with both.”