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K-State Today

June 6, 2023

Institute for Digital Agriculture and Advanced Analytics moves forward with Academic Program Committee

Submitted by Shawn Hutchinson

On May 8, team members from the Digital Agriculture and Advanced Analytics, or DA3, collaborative and professors from across Kansas State University met with the goal of outlining new interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate certificate programs for K-State students in the DA3 space.

The event, the Digital Agriculture and Advanced Analytics Academic Program Kickoff, was organized by Shawn Hutchinson, professor of geography and geospatial sciences, and Trevor Hefley, associate professor of statistics, and it was held at the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab in Hale Library.

"We achieved our goals for the kickoff meeting by working collaboratively and across multiple disciplines to identify possibilities that build upon existing strengths here at K-State," Hutchinson said. 

Hefley added, "The idea was to begin conceptualizing what graduate and undergraduate certificates in DA3 might look like, compile a list of exciting courses that we already offer, and then to leave with a skeleton of what an actual certificate program might look like."

During the meeting, faculty and administrators worked together to identify key competencies and existing courses that would enable students to meet those competencies. Their final activity involved grouping competencies and courses into potential certificate programs for further development.

"Wherever possible, we want to make sure that new DA3 certificates pair well but strengthen existing majors without requiring students to take a burdensome number of additional courses," Hefley said. 

"Accessible, exciting and marketable certificates will help us expand, diversify and strengthen the talent pool of students participating in agriculture to promote more sustainable and resilient agroecosystems," Hutchinson said. 

Future steps for the committee include continuing the certificate development process, identifying more and a broader cross-section of relevant courses, and working with Global Campus to conduct market analyses to help quantify advantages that DA3 certificates offer students for both immediate employment and graduate research.

Anyone interested in participating in future Academic Program Committee discussions and events can do so by contacting either Hutchinson at shutch@k-state.edu or Hefley at thefley@k-state.edu.