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ALCE 2414: Identity and Inclusion in Agriculture and Life Sciences

"ALCE 2414 offers more than one may first expect and was the most rewarding Pathways general education class that I have taken. I'm glad I enrolled in it for the first semester of it being available."
-Henry Brown, Civil & Environmental Engineering Major, Class of 2022 

ALCE 2414: Identity and Inclusion in Agriculture and Life Sciences examines histories of persons representing different social identities, statuses, space, place, and traditions in agricultural and life sciences. 

The course explores how differences influence experiences that individuals may have in agricultural and life sciences. Students will apply ethical reasoning practices to recognize and addresses critical issues surrounding inclusion of diverse populations within agricultural and life sciences education and leadership.

Prerequisite: ENGL 1106

"My favorite part of the class was how we learned about already-familiar topics in a new way. For example, we discussed how "soul food" in the South is important part of regional culture. However, we also discussed the health detriments to eating fried foods so frequently.

Dr. Westfall-Rudd's teaching style is defined by patience and understanding towards both her students and the subject matter at hand. She demonstrates how much she deeply cares for each student's unique perspective during group discussions and on homework assignments. This attention defines this class because it supports the class's central objective of paying attention to groups that are often overlooked.

For example, I also learned a lot of unexpected things relating to minority involvement in agriculture. One of the most striking is how farmers' markets have predominantly white sellers at each booth while the farms are worked by mostly non-white workers. I think about this now every time I pass a farmers market."
-Henry Brown, CEE, '22

The course culminates with an exhibit showcasing student projects for the assignment: It’s Your Thing/Express Yourself. Students researched an aspect of the experiences of an underrepresented population in American agriculture to create their response and personal perspective of the issues and challenges with inclusion efforts within the agricultural and life sciences industries. Projects include visual arts, poems, or another creative outlet to express their perspective.

This course fulfills requirements in Advanced Discourse and Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States.

Contact: Donna Westfall-Rudd at mooredm@vt.edu.