Agriculture Study Abroad program to Poland

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Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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The Technology Travel Course (TSM 496) is an elective course that meets the university-wide international perspectives requirement. The course has a curricular home in the department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), Iowa State University (ISU). It enables instructors to develop and offer a study abroad program structured as a faculty-led trip abroad. This course is also an excellent opportunity for students to learn/compare technology concepts and applications in an international context that is encouraged by the ABE External Advisory Board. The objectives of this paper are to (1) Review the application of TSM 496 to Ag Study Abroad trip to Poland (with cultural trips to Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and to (2) summarize curricular enhancement of student learning objectives (SLOs) and competencies. The course has been offered yearly since 2011, and served 48 students from several majors in Agriculture & Life Sciences and Engineering colleges. The pre-departure course is focused on teaming up ISU students with students at two agricultural universities in Poland. Teams develop comparative projects focused on agriculture with specific emphasis on animal systems production, technology, environment, sustainability, and regulations. Projects are finalized and presented jointly at special Polish-American Student Workshops. The joint project format creates an opportunity to make friends with students in Poland while working on international projects. The scientific part of the program is a mix of field trips to farms, plants, co-ops, lab tours, cultural sites and activities. Students have many opportunities to socialize, get inspired by rich culture, history, science, agro business attitudes and the spirit of change. SLOs are measured with the program surveys. Currently 65 SLOs/competencies are enhanced with 17 provided by this program (26%). In addition, 25 new competencies are gained, a 38% increase to the new total of 90. Students highly rate this learning and often list it as a highlight of their college career thus far. Data analysis of the Program Evaluation Surveys shows high degree of developing student skills, meeting and enhancement of class goals, departmental and college SLOs.


This proceeding is from 2015 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 152190399, pages 1-14 (doi: 10.13031/aim.20152190399). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE. Posted with permission.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015