Course Description

  • GEN100: Issues in Agriculture, Food and Environment is an introductory course requiring critical analysis of the major social, economic, political and scientific issues in agriculture and related disciplines, and an evaluation of the multiple positions taken on such issues as affected by the broad range of societal dynamics. Development of skills in information gathering, critical analysis of issues, and written and oral communication will be emphasized. Satisfies the U.S. Citizenship category of General Education.
  • Prereq: Students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; freshmen only in fall semesters and transfers/upperclassmen only in spring semesters.

Course Information

  • GEN100 is built on three pillars: student success and retention, fundamental research and communication skills, and exposure to critical thinking about core issues in agriculture, food, and environment.
  • We achieve these learning objectives through an Expert Speaker Seminar Series (in the fall semester), field trips to campus resources like the Horticultural Research Farm, Greenhouses, and the Meat Lab, limiting class size to only 25 students per section, recruiting and collaborating with excellent instructors, undergraduate peer mentors who are a valuable asset in the classroom, mixing majors so students can build community outside their departmental homes, and dedicating the fall semester to first-semester students only. 

REO Tracks Project

  • The Fall 2017 sections of GEN100 are hosting a new project, funded by a Sustainability Challenge grant called: Community-Engaged Sustainability Education in the First-Year Experience: GEN100 and Retention.
  • This project, nicknamed The REO Tracks Project (for Research-Education-Outreach), is a group research project in each GEN100 section which integrates a community outreach project, an information literacy workshop, diversity sessions, and guest lectures on one of six “tracks” 
      • Urban Forestry
      • School & Child Nutrition
      • Watershed Management
      • Organic Horticultural Production
      • Community Gardens
      • Malnutrition, Hunger, and Food Insecurity

Benefits to Students

  • Become a part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment community in your first semester.
  • Make sure you have a handle on essential critical thinking, communication, and research skills.
  • Build your understanding of central issues in the Agriculture, Food and Environment studies. 

Benefits to Faculty

  • Recruit exploratory students to your field.
  • Experience a rewarding teaching experience.
  • Enhance teaching innovation and especially active learning activities.
  • Help shape the GEN100 program.
  • Provide service to the College.


  • Balance between team-taught/instructor-led format.
  • Rosters capped at 25 students.
  • 1 major paper, 1 group assignment, 1 formal speech, 1 presentation, 1 short essay, attendance & participation highly valued.
  • Peer mentor assigned to each (Fall) section