Course Guide Information | Learning Objectives | Description | Expectations | Grades
Course Guide Information:
|Course Guide listing:
||Dairy Science / Animal Sciences / Agricultural and Applied Economics / Inter-Ag 375
||Wednesdays 4:30-5:20 p.m.
||Room 209 Animal Sciences Building (1675 Observatory Dr.)
||Michel Wattiaux (firstname.lastname@example.org) ( Biosketch).
||Kestrel Schmidt (email@example.com).
Students who actively participate in this seminar will gain knowledge and understanding
of a few important global agricultural issues, including:
- The diversity of agricultural systems around the world;
- The historical, social, economic and political forces that shape rapid changes in agriculture around both the "developed" nations and the "developing" nations;
- The increased interdependence of agricultural industries around the world;
- The people of Central Mexico, its history, economic and social structure;
- Mexico-U.S. relations regarding:
- Immigration issues;
- Trade of dairy products;
- Tension between the two countries because of cultural differences.
- The diversity of the Mexican dairy industry, which spans from subsistence farming (resource-poor farmers) to industrial dairying.
An important additional goal is to help you gain competence in discussing international agricultural issues. The selected course materials, the classroom environment and the website have been designed to create an inclusive learning community
The "Mexico Seminar" is organized as a series of interactive in-class activities and discussions rather than a series of lectures. Although facts and figures are important and you are expected to remember some of them, the course is designed primarily to help you develop a critical appreciation for international agricultural issues. There will be few “right” or “wrong” answers to questions and issues raised during this seminar, but rather all sorts of “gray” areas and a lot of "food for thoughts." The seminar is divided in the following main topics:
- Part I - Worldwide Overview of Population, Food Production/Demand, Livestock Agriculture, and Trade:
- This section provides a context for México – U.S. relationships, examining the dramatically different economic strengths (low GDP vs. high GDP), standards of living, and population structures (young population vs. old population). How do differences in population structure, wealth, labor supply and demand, and other factors influence animal agriculture in these countries? In what ways can agriculture be a strong engine of rural economies in "developing" countries?
- Part II - Mexico - U.S. Agricultural Relations: Immigration and Trade:
- Here we will focus on two major issues that characterize México – U. S. relations: immigration and agricultural trade. Readings and discussion will help us realize how our agricultural and dairy industries are dependent on each other in multiple ways. What are the implications of the interdependences that exist between the two countries? What are the Mexican perspectives on these issues?
- Part III - The Mexican Dairy Industry and its Relationship to the U.S. and Other Neighbors:
- This section of the seminar focuses on understanding the Mexican dairy industry "from within." We will look at the extreme diversity that exists in the Mexican dairy industry (small holder, industrial, and tropical dairy systems). What are the governmental policies and other "forces" that affect the development of the dairy industry in Latin America?
- Part IV - Central Mexico: The Land and its Cultures: Field Study Preparation:
- This is supplemental information and will not be covered in class. For those attending the summer field program, this section will provide building blocks for a better appreciation of historical and cultural site visits. This section provides an overview of the history and cultures of the people of Central Mexico. What does it mean to be a Mexican in Mexico?
Expectations: What am I expected to do in this class?
Preparing for weekly class discussions:
To maximze the benefits from our discussions, it is important that you complete the reading assignments and other homework BEFORE and AFTER class
as described below. Your active participation before, during and after class will contribute greatly to your grade and the success of this seminar. The small-group seating arrangement of the class will help us share ideas with each other, discuss, and learn from the readings and other posted material. So, here is a description of what I expect you to do every week and how we will share our thoughts and understanding with each other:
Between the Wednesday seminars:
- Complete the required "after class" reflection entries in the following 2013-After-Class-Mexico-Workbook document to download only once, but to update and submit weekly thereafter (Deadline: Tuesdays at 11:00 pm).
Do the readings and/or view the material for next Wednesday's class as described on the course schedule.
Look over the questions and/or do the Practice Quiz.
Go to the Blog page of the week and write one paragraph summarizing your thoughts (interesting info or take-home message from your perspective.) Feel free to add a question that you would like us to discuss in class. If you write a question, please try to start it with "Why" or "How" rather than "What". In other words, the answer to your question should NOT be found in the material, but should provide an opportunity to elaborate on certain "key" points of the paragraph you wrote (Deadline: Tuesdays at 11:00 pm).
During the Wednesday seminars:
- The weekly workbook submission will contribute to your final grade (see more below).
- Save your document and upload it in the course dropbox (see links to the left). Please do not compress files before uploading them. Also, if you are not using Microsoft Word as your word processor, please save you document as a "rich text format” (RTF) for upload in the dropbox. .
- Most days, we will start the seminar with a group quiz to test your preparedness for the day's discussion and to help you begin to discuss the day's theme with other students.
- Bring a print out of the article or your laptop to access the reading material in class.
- Be actively engaged in class activities and discussions, do not be afraid to voice your opinions and thoughts.
- Use laptop workbook or a paper workbook to take notes, record the main points of the activities or the discussions, and your own take-home messages in order to facilitate your after class workbook reflection entries.
Grades: How will I earn my grade?
The scores of tests and assignments will be made available in the Grade Book
which will be updated a few times over the course of the semester. To earn your grade in the seminar, you are expected:
- To complete your weekly class assignments as a way to prepare for class activities.
- To attend class and participate actively.
- To submit a mid-term paper on topics covered in Part I of the class (more details here.)
- To submit an essay on topics covered in Part II of the class (more details here.)
- To submit a take-home final in which you will summarize what you have learned in selected topics of the seminar (Part I, II and/or III; instructions will be made available here).
The grading system (Table 1) has been designed to help you earn grade by: a) being prepared for class, b) paying attention, summarizing your thoughts and connecting and synthesizing information from topics covered in each part the seminar. The contribution of each graded course component in the final grade is presented below.
Table 1: The grades for the class will be assigned as in the following Table.
||Blog entries (summary & questions)
||Quizzes (in-class and prior to class)
|| Tuesday and/or in-class
||After class workbook entries
||Midterm (written 10 pts; oral 4 pts)
Before-class blog entries will be graded based on the following criteria:
- Thoughtful comments with probing thoughts / question (why or how): 2.0 pts
- Comments that may be relevant but not clearly connected to the pre-assigned material: - 0.5 pt
- “Superficial” or poorly written comments: -0.5 pt to - 1.0 pt
- No blog entry by the deadline (-1 pt) and no entry by class time (-2 pts)
After-class workbook entries will be graded based on the following criteria and scale:
Final Grade Assignment
- Thoughtful, complete and clear reflection on the topic (reading and class activities): 2.0 pts
- Thoughtful but partial (i.e., incomplete) addressing a limited number of issues discussed in the reading and the class activities: - 0.5 to -1.0 pt
- “Superficial” or poorly written entry: -0.5 pt to - 1.0 pt
- No workbook entry by the deadline (-1 pt) and no entry by end of semester (-2 pts)
A criterion-referenced grading will be used in this class and therefore you do not need to worry about your standing relative to others in this course because everybody could get an "A" and conversely, everybody could get an "F". In fact, working with other will likely be to everyone's advantage
. Letter grades will be assigned according to the following scale (which may vary slightly from year to year depending on specific circumstances)
: A = 90-100 | AB = 89-88 | B= 87-80 | BC = 79-78 | C = 77-70 | D = 69-60 | F = 59 or less.