Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) agriculture program has been named the 2011 top postsecondary program in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE).
The 2011 Wisconsin Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award recognizes teachers and programs that show success. Applicants are judged on criteria including teaching philosophy, effective classroom and experiential instruction, partnership development and professional growth.
CVTC’s program has three departments: agriscience technology; landscape, plant and turf management; and farm business and production management. All follow CVTC’s teaching philosophy of performance-based instruction through hands-on activities and/or real-life experiences, ensuring students are able to apply what they have learned. Classroom lectures, tests and activities are also part of the program.
“CVTC partners with many farmers and agricultural businesses to give students these experiences,” says Brad Sirianni, CVTC agriculture instructor. “Students also work with community organizations to help plan Farm City Day, developing and leading farm tours.”
The agriscience technology program responds to production agriculture training needs and is engaged in an alternative energy initiative emphasizing biodiesel and biomass production on 60 acres of student-managed farmland. Instruction also includes many on-farm training labs and opportunities to network with potential employers.
Landscape, plant and turf management students have designed and installed a rain garden for Farm City Day, landscaping around two CVTC campuses, interior plantscapes at CVTC, and the garden area for the Chippewa Valley Home and Garden Show. They have developed and conducted trials on composting and vermicomposting (worm composting) using waste food. They also prune campus shrubs and plant spring bulbs at campuses.
Farm business and production management students are largely farmers. Instructors facilitate on-farm learning by assisting farmers with financial analysis, farm business planning, farm recordkeeping, transition planning, crop and soil management, animal and facility management, employee management, troubleshooting and basic computer needs.
CVTC’s agricultural program instructors are Brad Sirianni, Dwight Swenson, Brad Mathson, Mark Denk, and Susan Frame.
CVTC curriculum is developed through input from advisory committees, which are comprised of industry professionals. It is updated continuously to ensure students are prepared for future employers.
WAAE is the state professional association for agricultural educators.