Agricultural Specialist - Program Review Launchpad

1. Program Description

1.1 Narrative Description

Overview of Cal Poly and the School of Education
Founded in 1901 as a state vocational high school, Cal Poly has evolved into a comprehensive polytechnic university with an emphasis on experiential learning. The School of Education (SOE) embodies Cal Poly’s "learn-by-doing" approach to instruction.

Housed within the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM), the SOE closely links education, math, and science faculty with school educators on curriculum, instruction, and supervision; applied scholarship; and service to teachers, schools, and the profession. In addition to housing the SOE, the CSM also houses the Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) and the department of Liberal Studies, which provides subject matter preparation to undergraduates who aspire to teach in the elementary grades. Within the Single Subjects Teacher Education program, the SOE also maintains close partnerships with the College of Liberal Arts (CLA; History and English departments) and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES; Agriculture Education department).

The SOE vision reflects a universitywide commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Our mission extends the University’s principles of inquiry, collaboration, equity, and pluralism into the expectations for practice and the preparation of education professionals. The SOE recently adopted new Schoolwide Learning Themes that provide a platform for continuous improvement and a common lens for anchoring dialogue, professional development, and inquiry and assessment projects across the SOE.

Overview of the Agriculture Specialist Program (AgEd)
The Agricultural Education and Communication Department works with the School of Education to offer coursework leading to teacher credentialing in agriculture. Upon completion of a concurrent program, students earn Preliminary Single Subject-Agriculture and Specialist-Agriculture credentials.

Undergraduate students are encouraged to declare the agricultural education minor while studying agriculture to ensure they are meeting the requirements to be eligible for the credential program. Early field experiences are required for entrance into the program.  Candidates must show subject matter expertise in one of the following areas: Agricultural Engineering Technology, Agricultural Supplies and Services, Animal Science, Crop and Soil Science, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Ornamental Horticulture.

1.1.1 Table of Models and Pathways

Credential Program delivery model location

current enrollment

(Fall 2018)



Agriculture Specialist Traditional Main Campus 21 8

3. Faculty Qualifications

3.1 Distribution Table

Full-Time Instructional Faculty         4  
Part-Time Instructional Faculty         3
Adjunct/Clinical Practice Supervisors         0
Instructional vacancies/anticipated hiring         0
total         7

3.2 Annotated Faculty List with Links to Vitae & Syllabi

Swan, Ben
Agriculture Education Program Coordinator and Agricultural Education Faculty (PT)

    Gorter, Erin
    Agricultural Education Faculty (PT)

      Freeman, Sherri
      Agricultural Education Faculty (PT)

      Additional Adjunct/Clinical Practice Supervisors - AgEd 440/AgEd 513
      DeLay, Ann
      Flores, Robert 
      Gorter, Erin
      Kellogg, Bill
      Swan, Ben

      3.3 Published Experience & Qualification Requirements

      3.4 Faculty Recruitment Documents

      5. Course Matrix & Syllabi

      5.1 Course Matrix with I, P, A Indicated 

      • NOTE: In developing hyperlinks to direct evidence within the syllabi, we have observed that links only function properly when viewed in a Google Chrome browser. If using Safari or Firefox, the links will navigate to the first page of the syllabi rather than the targeted evidence. We have annotated all the targeted evidence with comments in order to ease your efforts to search and browse within the syllabi.


      Note that most candidates complete Single Subject Agriculture Certification concurrently with the Ag Specialist Certification.  Classes listed below are only those which address AgEd standards and matrixes.

      6. Fieldwork and Clinical Practice Documents

      6.1 Clinical Practice Narrative and Table 

      Clinical Practice Narrative & Theoretical Approach
      Clinical Practice experiences in the Cal Poly School of Education are deeply grounded in Learn by Doing; future educators work alongside experts in the field to hone their craft through a gradual release of responsibility. This Learn by Doing approach embeds Cal Poly’s innovative polytechnic approach to higher education with best practices and theories in education by building a Community of Practice that emphasizes continuous improvement and a culture of shared learning.

      In order to build a successful Learn by Doing Clinical Practice program, great care and thought goes into articulating all facets of the clinical experience, including: roles, coaching, language, and the supports that are leveraged at each phase of field experience. By intentionally articulating shared principles and values throughout Clinical Practice, the SOE builds meaningful connections between the Cal Poly campus and the field.

      In the SOE, Clinical Practice roles and responsibilities are expressed through The Triad, a designed collaboration between the Teacher Candidate, Cooperating Teacher, and Clinical Practice University Supervisor. Each member of the Triad participates in learning experiences that help to create a Community of Practice based on shared language, best practices, and theories. This ensures that the strategies, coaching, and evaluation that Teacher Candidates experience in the field are consistent with the theories and language promoted in SOE coursework.

      The Cal Poly School of Education further advances a shared vision of effective teaching and learning through the SOE Observation Tool, which articulates 17 Prioritized Skills at the center of effective teaching practice. While future educators study the theories and best practices behind these Prioritized Skills in their coursework, the SOE offers workshops and professional development resources for Cooperating Teachers, school site administrators, and our surrounding community in order to norm our collective understanding of the SOE Observation tool, and to encourage common language. By developing shared expectations and norms grounded in the Observation Tool, we tighten the relationship between the School of Education and fieldwork sites, creating a more coherent experience for our Teacher Candidates. Fostering this shared vision of teaching and learning also serves to demystify effective teaching practice and reveals a transparent development path for Teacher Candidates as they uncover and honor their own craft as future master teachers.

      The final linchpin in Cal Poly’s approach to Clinical Practice is building a community and experience that encourages continuous growth and improvement, along with the risk-taking that is inherent in that process. The Learn by Doing approach requires future educators, and the experts with whom they work alongside, to be open to new ideas, implement innovative strategies, assess, and reflect on resulting successes and inevitable failures. Developing these practices requires vulnerability, willingness to change, and the ability to own missteps. By encouraging these habits, however, the SOE ensures that future educators will be prepared for advanced studies in education, action research, and a commitment to continuous growth that will improve their practice and the outcomes of their students throughout their careers.

      6.2 Signed MOU & Placement Profiles 

      Robust evidence for the School of Education's Clinical Practice program is located with materials for Common Standard 3 - Clinical Practice, including:

      6.3 Supervisor/Cooperating Teacher Training Materials

      6.4 Documentation of Candidate Placements 

      6.5 Clinical Practice Handbook/Manual 

      6.6 Fieldwork/Clinical Practice Syllabi

      6.7 Clinical Practice Assessment Instruments 

      Teacher Education Clinical Practice Links
      Observation Protocol Download PDF File
      Observation Rubric Download PDF File
      Observation Evaluation Form Download PDF File Word File

      Disposition Evaluation Form

      Download PDF File Word File

      Induction Transition Plan

      Download PDF File Word File

      7. Credential Recommendation and Evaluations

      7.1 Description of process insuring appropriate recommendation

      Evaluation of credential candidates and submission of credential recommendations are provided solely by Cal Poly SOE Credential Office, with final authority and oversight for recommendations entrusted to the Credential Analysts (under supervision of the SOE Director) who will always be current employees of the Cal Poly SOE.

      For Ag Specialist candidates, qualifications and requirements are continuously reviewed by the Program Advisor (or delegate) within the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Science using the Advancement to Candidacy form and the Technical Ag Worksheet (AgEd Specialist Progress Monitoring Documents). Through these two forms, the Ag Specialist program checks that each student possesses the required pre-requisite credential - either by verifying the pre-existing credential onine with the CTC, or by verifying that a concurrently enrolled candidate has completed all the Single Subject coursework described in boxes 1, , and 3 of the Technical Ag Worksheet.  

      The Ag Specialist program also verifies subject matter competence and area specialization as part of the Advancement to Candidacy form, on page 2. The form requires evidence of area specialization in animal science, plant/soil science, sales/service (i.e. agricultural business management), or agricultural mechanics (i.e. agricultural systems technology). 

      The Ag Specialist program finally verifies a minimum of 2,000 hours of paid or voluntary experience (or 3,000 hours if 1,500 hours is accrued prior to graduation from high school) as part of the Advancement to Candidacy form, on page 2.

      The Ag Specialist Program provides the AgEd Specialist Progress Monitoring Documents to the SOE Credential Office, where Credential Analysts verify the requirements for all candidates. The Credential Analysts additionally perform the SSTEP Credential Office Evaluation for any concurrently enrolled Single Subject candidates.

      7.2 Candidate Progress Monitoring Documents 

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      San Luis Obispo, CA 93407