MTSU’s new Agricultural Education Leadership graduate program offers the opportunity to study agricultural leadership and its application in a variety of agricultural and environmental contexts. This concentration leads to a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in the Administration and Supervision major. The program helps disseminate the latest research and best practices in agribusiness and agriscience to educational leaders such as extension officers, FFA club advisors, 4-H leaders, and K-12 teachers who integrate agricultural content into their curriculum. Electives allow master’s candidates to tailor studies for individual career goals. The program draws upon the expertise of School of Agribusiness and Agriscience faculty and builds on MTSU’s strong foundation in K-12 education. Although not traditionally identified as STEM fields, agribusiness and agriscience rest on the ever-growing and ever-changing currents of science, technology, and engineering that require agricultural leaders to remain up-to-date in scientific arenas, apply that knowledge to agribusiness and agriscience, and communicate that information to a variety of audiences in a number of formats.
Smith County High School agriculture teacher Wesley Foster, a Plant and Soil Science graduate from MTSU, plans to finish his master’s through the new Agricultural Education Leadership program. Foster took three graduate classes before being hired mid-semester in 2012. “This new master's program will benefit me personally because it is focused more toward me and what I do in my classroom,” he says. “Before, the program was aimed more toward an administration position rather than toward the agricultural side or the teaching side.” Foster has increased agriculture enrollment from 104 to 195 at Smith County and FFA membership from 68 to 126 as advisor. “Agriculture is changing day by day by day, whether it’s seed varieties, precision agriculture, or the mechanics on agriculture equipment,” Foster says. “Everything involved with agriculture has exploded within the past 10 years, so it’s hard to keep up.” Foster also co-owns and operates his family’s 1,500-acre farm in Cannon County.
Dr. Alanna (Neely) Vaught is starting up the Agricultural Education Leadership master’s program at MTSU as graduate director. Vaught, a 2003 MTSU graduate, earned her doctorate in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M in 2013. “Students have continuously voiced their desire to obtain an Ag master’s degree from MTSU,” Vaught says. “After many years of work, we are excited to now offer this opportunity.” She began teaching in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience in 2006 after receiving her master’s in Instructional Leadership. Vaught then wrote a grant and launched a dual credit program between MTSU and high schools that the state later took over. “When she first talked to me about it, I quickly realized that there would be a strong demand for this degree,” says Warren Gill, former Agribusiness and Agriscience director. “Dr. Vaught is passionate about helping develop the next generation of great teachers.”
With leadership being a mandate of employers, the Agricultural Education Leadership master’s degree positions graduates to work with communities, organizations, and agencies that are committed to agriculture and the environment. The program is geared toward agricultural extension agents, 4-H leaders, recent graduates, and teachers who seek advanced agricultural leadership skills.
Because this degree program is new, employer information is still being compiled.
The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Administration and Supervision now offers a concentration in Agriculture Education Leadership, as well as specializations in K-12 public school, higher education, and a nonlicensure program.
Applicants must have
Curriculum consists of 9 hours core classes, 12 hours of specialized coursework, and 12 hours of electives.
Students must select 12 hours from graduate-level elective courses in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business, and the College of Education. A minimum of 6 hours must be taken from courses with common rubrics (i.e., FOED, SPSE, YOED, ABAS, MKT, MGMT).
For example, a student who planned to teach in a K-12 setting could pick up additional courses in the College of Education. However, a student who planned to lead a 4-H or agricultural extension might choose further courses in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.
The Womack Educational Leadership Department awards the Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) with majors in Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction, and Professional Counseling.
Master’s graduates may pursue the Specialist in Education degree (Ed.S.), with majors available in Administration and Supervision as well as Curriculum and Instruction.
Alanna Vaught, Program Coordinator
The Womack Educational Leadership Department offers the Specialist in Eduction degree (Ed.S.) with majors in Administration and Supervision as well as Curriculum and Instruction with the Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) with majors in Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction, and Professional counseling.
The M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision offers concentrations in Library Science and Agricultural Education Leadership as well as specializations in K-12 public school, higher education, and a nonlicensure program.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Admission to the Master of Education in Administration and Supervision with a concentration in Agricultural Education Leadership requires
Students pursuing an M.Ed. degree must be fully admitted prior to their initial semester of coursework.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
Candidate must complete 33 hours in the following course of study:
3 credit hours
Assists educational personnel in developing contexts and concepts in which educational problems and issues may be understood through awareness of findings in humanistic and behavioral studies.
3 credit hours
Qualitative and quantitative research applicable to the field of education. Both producers and consumers of educational research with a literature review presented to support possible solutions to significant hypotheses or problems.
3 credit hours
Roles, responsibilities understandings, and behavior patterns in effective administrative and supervisory personnel. Developing sensitivity to individuals, the nature and structures of groups, and the problems of communication within and among groups and individuals.
MTSU Outstanding Teacher of the Year, 2013.
Diplomate of the American College of Animal Nutrition (ACAN), 2007-present.
Excellence in Presentations, MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences, 2007.
Outstanding Grantsmanship, MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences, 2004.
Most Valuable Asset Award, MTSU Equestrian Team, 2004
Educator of the Year, Virginia Horse Council, 2002
First Place Poster, Life Sciences, 13th Annual Virginia Tech Graduate Research Symposium, 1997
John Lee Pratt Graduate Fellowship in Animal Nutrition, Virginia Tech, 1994-1997
John Lee Pratt Graduate Assistantship in Animal Nutrition, Virginia Tech, 1992-1994
Outstanding Senior in Agricultural Science, Truman State University, 1992
Dr. Rhonda Hoffman is a Professor and Interim Director of Horse Science in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience at Middle Tennessee State University. She is a board-certified Diplomate of the American College of Animal Nutrition and member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
Dr. Hoffman joined the faculty of the School of ABAS as an Associate Professor of Animal Science/Horse Science in 2003, and she was promoted to Professor in 2011. She has been serving as the Interim Director of Horse Science since December 2014. Dr. Hoffman was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech from 2000-2003, and was an Assistant Professor and Horse Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Connecticut from 1997-2000.
Dr. Hoffman's research emphasizes carbohydrate fractions in feeds and forages with analysis relating to equine digestive physiology rather than plant chemistry. She is particularly interested in carbohydrate metabolism, glucose-insulin dynamics and insulin sensitivity in horses as related to diet, obesity, pregnancy, performance and disease.
Dr. Hoffman began teaching in 1997. Classes taught at MTSU include undergraduate level Equine Nutrition and Feeding, Horse Breeds and Genetics, Equine Exercise Physiology, Horse Production, Elements of Animal Science, and graduate level Advanced Equine Nutrition, Research Methods in Agriculture, and Graduate Seminar in Agriculture. She helped develop the Horse Science undergraduate and M.S. curriculum at MTSU. She advises 90âï¿½ï¿½100 undergraduate majors in Horse Science each year and has advised undergraduate honors, M.S. and Ph.D. student research. She created a life-sized model of an equine digestive tract to facilitate teaching and learning of horse nutrition. This instructional model has been used in collegiate teaching for 15 years and was reviewed and published by the Equine Science Society in 2003. She was recognized as an MTSU Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2013.
Dr. Hoffman is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Animal Science and is an active member in the Equine Science Society and the American Society of Animal Science. She was an invited peer-reviewer for the 6th Ed. of the Nutrient Requirements for Horses and peer-reviews manuscripts for several scientific journals. Dr. Hoffman has been a regular judge for 4-H quiz bowl and project fairs. In Connecticut, she helped develop the Horse Farm of Environmental Distinction Awards Program, which still exists today. Her service at MTSU includes being Draw Table Coordinator for MTSU-hosted Intercollegiate (IHSA) Horse Shows.
Food Processing, Food Safety, Food Quality, Food Microbiology, Grape Production, Wine Production, Wine Appreciation, Food and Wine Marketing, International Studies, Public Health
B.S. Geophysics, University of Arkansas, 1980
M.S. Food Science, University of Arkansas, 1986
Ph.D. Food Science (Enology and Viticulture), University of Arkansas, 1995
MPH, Epidemiology, University of Florida, 2014
6 years food industry experience with Tyson Foods, Inc, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, and Sara Lee Corporation, Quality Control Manager and Technical Services Manager
6 years experience as owner and/or winemaker at Tennessee wineries (Sumner Crest Winery and Monteagle Winery)
Agricultural Education Leadership Program
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