New Methods for Teaching Food and Nutrition Policy
Training for University Professors and Lecturers in the Use of the Policy-Relevant Case Study Methodology
"I would like to thank all the organizers, our wonderful and knowledgeable lecturers, for such an effective training that I have already used in my classes. Good job!" Feedback from a participant of a first training in January 2020
After a very successful first training conducted in January 2020, ECFS has the pleasure of inviting applications to participate in a second, two-week, Train the Trainer online course for University professors and lecturers wishing to expand their teaching skills in the use of the policy-relevant case study methodology, as well as teaching skills needed for effective distance learning.
- Background to the Policy-Relevant Case Study Methodology in University Teaching
Case studies in education were first used at the Harvard Law School in 1870 by C.C. Langdell. By the mid 20th Century this teaching method had reached widespread use in law, business, and medical schools across the USA and other countries. More recently it has been applied in social science teaching, and notably on food policy in developing countries with an emphasis on the role of government in global, national and local food systems (pioneered by Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen at Cornell University).
Pinstrup-Andersen employed a social entrepreneurship approach that involves participatory training based on classroom presentations and discussions of cases of real issues facing policy-makers. This approach works for students in a variety of disciplines, including economics, political science, nutrition, and plant science.
Using case studies exemplifies the basic principles, illustrates both recurrent and atypical problems, and offers discussion of practical solutions to those problems. Experience of case studies in the learning environment aims to guide future professionals through the types of situations they will eventually confront in their chosen workplace.
The case-based teaching method is a powerful, student-centered teaching strategy that can improve students’ critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills. Having students work through complex, ambiguous, real world problems engages students with their course material, encouraging them to see things from an action perspective. Case studies are invariably multidisciplinary and help students bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Benefits to students of incorporating the case study method in course teaching are that working on cases requires students to research and evaluate multiple sources of data, fostering information literacy. It also assists in developing real world, professional skills as it demands good organizational and time management skills, increases student proficiency with written and oral communication, and requires good collaboration and team-working skills.
- Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) and the policy-relevant case study methods developed by the ECFS and the World Bank (WB)
The ECFS was established in 2011 in response of the Russian Federation to L’Aquila Food Security Initiative proposed at the G8 Summit in Aquila (Italy, 2009), which prioritized food security and agricultural sustainability as major policy development at the global, regional and national levels. The Center promotes food security in Eurasian region by developing expertise, performing analytical work, undertaking research using in-house and outside resources, conducting educational activities, and coordinating intergovernmental research and development studies. ECFS carries out its activities in partnership with international organizations and institutions, including the WB. The WB’s engagement with ECFS is focused on strengthening the capacity for expert and analytical services and applied research. Development of case studies is one of the joint initiatives.
Since 2016, ECFS has published 22 case studies (with an additional 7 under preparation), written by some 60 researchers, an initiative which has fostered collaboration between food security and food policy researchers in the Eurasian region. Case studies were prepared using the methodology developed by the ECFS and the WB on the basis of Cornell University methodology. The case studies identify policy options and focus on specific, current and relevant food security problems (e.g. food policy implications of COVID-19 crisis, sustainable agriculture practices) in the region, as well as serve as educational material on a relevant and timely food and nutrition policy topics.
- What to expect of the December 2020 course:
The two weeks of on-line sessions and activities spread on alternating days (i.e. every other day) will bring participants up to speed on a policy-relevant case study experience based on a selected food policy theme of the day taught by Dr. Derrill D. Watson and Dr. James E. Gentry - experts in the use of case study methods.
Dr. Derrill D. Watson received his PhD in Economics from Cornell University under the guidance of Per Pinstrup-Andersen. He studied the social entrepreneurship teaching approach firsthand under Pinstrup-Andersen’s tutelage. He has continued working in faculty development at Tarleton State University as a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Instructional Innovation and now as Chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics. His research is on the political economy of food policy and effective teaching methods.
Dr. James E. Gentry is a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Tarleton State University. He primarily teaches literacy and special education classes. Since 2016 he has served a split position as a faculty member and as the Associate Director of the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII). He is also the Director for Instructional Development and Course Design at the new Center for Educational Excellence.
Participants will gather online each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a two-hour learning experience via Zoom. Additionally, video and written materials will be available and assigned to participants each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday between live sessions. By the completion of the course, participants will have created a video demonstrating their mastery of the course materials and receive feedback from peers and instructors.
- Course objectives:
Throughout the course participants will be active learners and engage in role play to experience the case study teaching methodology from both the trainer and trainee perspectives. A considerable amount of group work in preparation for the sessions will be required by participants.
The participants are expected to introduce the policy-relevant case study methodology in their teaching and instruction in their home universities. For this, a special syllabus development workshop will be provided individually to each participant to develop and/or receive feedback on the syllabus.
The course will be based around the existing set of case studies published by ECFS.
On completion of the course participants will:
- Experience online teaching techniques and tools to enhance learning and the expression of that learning;
- Have a clear understanding of the benefits of using the case study methodology in university teaching;
- Have experienced the case study methodology as both teacher and student;
- Be able to prepare and deliver a case study session for use with students in both online and offline format;
- Be committed to using the case study methodology in their future teaching work;
- Expand professional network, and
- Receive the course certificate of completion.
Please submit your applications before November 22, 2020
Participants must be currently employed by an educational institution (professors, assistant professors, associate professors, lecturers, docents) and be actively involved in teaching courses related to food and nutrition policy at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Applications are welcome from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Working knowledge of Russian and English, both written and conversational, are required. All sessions will be in English with no translation provided. Participants must have access to internet connection, computers with video-conferencing capabilities (camera, microphone, headphones/speakers).
Participants will be limited to a total number of 15 people. Places will be offered to applicants that demonstrate greatest interest and commitment in their motivational letter of using the case study methodology in improving their teaching effectiveness and their students’ learning outcomes and who are likely to gain most from the course.
Successful applicants will be informed they have been awarded a place on the course by November 27, 2020 and further information will be sent to them, including requirements for pre-course work and preparation.
To apply to the 2020 course, please complete the following steps:
- Read the course overview above to make sure you would benefit from it and know what to expect.
- Prepare a one-page motivational letter in English explicitly addressing the following questions: (i) why are you interested in attending the course, (ii) what do you expect to gain from it and (iii) how are you going to incorporate case study methodology into curriculum of your university and in improving your teaching effectiveness, and (iv) how do you expect to improve your students’ learning outcomes.
- Prepare a short CV in English which demonstrates that you are an active teacher and include information on your current institution, position and teaching duties (courses taught, teaching methods used and teaching load) to be verified by the Dean of your faculty or HR.
- Fill out registration form and upload your motivational letter and CV (in English).