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Iowa state university's online master of science in ag education offers student opportunity to develop strategies to fine-tune professional skills.

Jessica Hebert, secondary agricultural education teacher at North Polk High School in Alleman, Iowa, had many reasons for choosing Iowa State University for her master's degree in agricultural education.

Several colleagues provided her with reasons, recommending the On Master of Science in Agricultural Education at Iowa State University as the place to go for a quality education at a distance. Hebert had also received her bachelor's degree from Iowa State and had enjoyed the experience, so she was inclined to expect good things from the university's advanced degrees.

The Master of Science in Agricultural Education offers professional development relevant to a variety of professionals, including but not limited to agricultural teachers. As a teacher, Hebert focused on developing a new curriculum as part of her creative component. However, other professionals--such as extension program coordinators or agricultural communicators--can design their creative components to enhance their own vocations. Foundational courses in th.e program cover broad-reaching topics such as program planning and leadership, which are important areas of study for anyone looking to bring their career .to the next level.

The program's availability online was also an important draw for Hebert as she considered her options for advanced education.

"Currently, being a high school teacher, I have busy times during the year, so being able to work at my own pace and work ahead has allowed me to be really flexible in my own learning," .Fiebert said.

The curriculum Hebert created was a high school horticulture curriculum. She focused on fine-tuning her teaching strategies to meet the diverse needs of her students. She also developed a plan for supplementing her curriculum with extension materials. Hebert said she also had to develop strategies of her own to manage an intensive online curriculum along with a full-time career.

"Make sure Nrou manage your time, and really set your goals and priorities on what you want to learn," she said. "Find an area that you're interested in. For instance, mine was horticulture. Really go with that interest. Take some classes that really will allow you to become more knowledgeable in that area. But also step outside the box. Challenge yourself to learn in a new area as well."

Hebert graduated in the spring of 2014. She will continue teaching, and hopes to offer dual-credit courses to her students at North Polk High School in the next couple of years.

For more information about improving your professional skill set through the Online Master of Science in Agricultural Education at Iowa State University, contact Wendy Ortmann at or 515-294-5872. For information about other online programs at Iowa State University, contact Michelle Zander: 515-294-7656.

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Publication:Agri Marketing
Date:Sep 1, 2014
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