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Course Catalog Information
Agricultural Economics (AG_EC)
Ethical Issues in Agriculture - Writing Intensive
The study of how economics, philosophy, and science inform on and impact important ethical problems in agriculture, such as the environment, biotechnology, animal welfare, farm structure, the role of agribusiness, development, sustainability, and agriculture-related public policy. Course may be repeated once for credit.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
AG_EC 1041 or ECONOM 1014 and junior standing.
The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
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Honors Course Information
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Writing Intensive Course Information
In this course we examine ethical issues in agriculture, with particular emphasis on the development of an analytical framework for understanding and evaluating the ethical implications arising from agriculture-related public policy. We study ethical theories, show how economics, philosophy, and science inform on and impact important ethical problems, and consider how and where ethical considerations figure in the public policy process. We also study some of the classic literature in agricultural and applied ethics. Topics may include the use of technology in agriculture, food safety, environmental protection, poverty and economic development, animal welfare, farm structure, the role of agribusiness, business ethics, sustainability, and government agricultural programs. There is one group project in which student create a video documentary about an ethical issue of their choice. We watch the videos in class and students assess other videos (not their own group's) on interest and effectiveness. Student evaluations make up about half of the weight of the grade they receive (instructor and course TA also provide feedback and evaluation).
Teaching the course has consistently been a positive experience. Student evaluations are always good. I do not expect significant changes to the course, except adjustments to course topics as appropriate.
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Writing Intensive Teaching
Instructor provided feedback
The course TA corrects for proper English and provides some comments on content. I score papers on content and suggest changes needed to make papers acceptable. We discuss in class what makes an acceptable paper, and I provide individual oral feedback to students who request it. For one writing assignment (the second one on controversial technologies), I will have students discuss the feedback they received from me and the TA with others in a group and to get group suggestions on revising the paper.
Because this is an ethics class, virtually all writing assignments address issues for which there can be multiple interpretations and evaluations. I tell students I am less concerned about what their position or argument is and more concerned about the quality of their writing and their ability to construct and defend a sound argument. For this reason I grade on presentation grammar, typos, sentence structure, etc as well as content quality of the argument, accurate use of ethical theories, etc.
Writing assignments are distributed evenly during the semester.
I select an advanced MS or PhD student from our graduate program who has strong writing skills and who has an interest in ethical issues. Usually these are students I advise, given my research focus on applied ethics. The course TA attends classes and helps with in-class activities as needed. The TA also gives a first reading of all writing assignments, noting and correcting problems with the presentation grammar, etc and providing an initial score of acceptable or not acceptable. For each assignment I explain to the TA its purpose and what to look for in terms of content. Because I read all writing assignments after the initial reading by the TA, I provide feedback on the quality of the initial assessments. Usually this is minor after the first couple of writing assignments.