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AGBIO 520 Syllabus

HLS/AGBIO 520 Agricultural Biosecurity: Protecting a Key Infrastructure (3): Course will explore intentional and unintentional threats to the agriculture-food system, history and current approaches for safeguarding this key infrastructure.

Instructor

Gretchen KuldauDr. Gretchen Kuldau

Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University
321 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802

Email: Use Canvas Inbox

 

About the Instructor

Dr. Gretchen Kuldau earned her B.S. in Biology from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Physiological Plant Biology from the University of California Berkeley. Of her program interests, she writes, "Research in my lab focuses on mycotoxigenic fungi and their interactions with plants. Mycotoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that are toxic to humans and animals. These naturally occurring toxins are of concern for both human and animal health since some are human carcinogens and others can cause fatal diseases in farm animals. In most cases, the biological motivation for mycotoxin production is unknown. While we have a relatively clear understanding of the nature of many of the commonly found mycotoxins we often do not know why they are made. One of the primary goals of my program is to understand why fungi produce mycotoxins. Such knowledge should provide the basis for new strategies for prevention of accumulation of mycotoxins in food and feed."

 

Overview

Agricultural Biosecurity covers a wide range of topics related to protecting the agriculture food system from intentional and unintentional threats. The course is introduced with an overview of the scope and nature of the agriculture food system including identification of professionals operating within this arena. This is followed by appropriate historical context and several lessons on specific threats to plant and animal agriculture, and the food system, and a discussion of the social impacts agro-terrorism. The threat of accidental introduction of exotic species and their potential to become invasive is also discussed. The course concludes with a series of lessons focused around the central concept of prevent, detect, respond and recover. We end with a discussion on looking to the future which will summarize the course by identifying areas that are still in need of improvement and areas for future research.

 

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to provide a structure for students with little or no background in agriculture to learn about agricultural biosecurity.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Outline historical and contemporary events that are relevant to agricultural biosecurity
  • Describe the threats, both intentional and accidental, to plant and animal production and food systems
  • Explain the roles of different levels of government and which agencies are responsible for safeguarding agricultural biosecurity
  • Outline the four basic steps in agricultural biosecurity and describe specific actions that are used in each step
  • Explain current limitations and unmet needs in agricultural biosecurity and be able to suggest possible solutions
  • Discuss agricultural biosecurity and explain it to those unfamiliar with it
  • Appreciate the importance of the agriculture-food system as a key infrastructure

 

Expectations

What is Expected of Members of Our Learning Community:

  • Shared responsibility – While your purposes for taking this course may vary, our learning activities will draw upon peer insight and feedback and involve us in various combinations of individual and collaborative learning activities. Each of us should contribute to our web of learning, as well as benefit from it. You are part of a community, learning together.
  • Keep on top of things – Please establish a routine that allows you to regularly pace yourself and remain actively involved with course activities. While you can choose which time of the day and which days of the Module you log on and contribute, please do not disadvantage yourself and the rest of us by falling behind. The pace of this course is intense. Log on often (several times a week) to keep abreast of new postings, current emails, updated discussion, and overall course progress.
  • Prepare for absences – I encourage you to plan ahead. I understand many graduate students work and have families. As adult learners, you must pace yourself according to your schedule. Don't wait until the last minute! Others are depending on you and you don't want to get overwhelmed. If you need to be away from the course due to personal or family needs, please communicate with me and your team members via course email If unexpected or extenuating circumstances arise that will keep you from being an active contributor, please communicate with me and I will do the same with you.
  • Issues of confidentiality, privacy and ethics – As professionals, we face ethical issues frequently. Having the academic freedom to express ourselves in class demands that we protect each others' confidentiality outside of class. I expect that what is "said" on our course site will stay here.

What You Can Expect of your Instructor:

  • Contact and presence – My goal is to acknowledge or respond to personal and group questions, suggestions, dilemmas, or other course related issues within 48 hours. However, the grading of course assignments usually takes longer.
  • Flexibility – As noted above, instructors are prepared to accommodate vacations, illnesses and job emergencies, provided that there is a reasonable prospect or plan for making up the work. If you need to be late with an assignment, or prefer to do something else suitable to that topic, please discuss it with your instructor ahead of time.
  • Sense of Community – This course has been designed to operate within a learning community: having a shared purpose (course goals), a distinctive place to gather (the ANGEL site), promoting effective work products from within our group (Module assignments), establishing accepted norms (netiquette and mutual expectations), and allowing for a range of member roles and participation (team projects and responses to postings).

Grading

RequirementValue
Team Project Report 25%
Individual Research Paper 20%
Reports 15%
Reflections 15%
Midterm Exam 15%
Other Assignments 10%
Grading Scale
A 93%-100% C+ 77%-79%
A- 90% -92% C 73%-76%
B+ 87%-89% C- 70%-72%
B 83%-86% D 60%-69%
B- 80%-82% F less than 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

  

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

 

PSU Policies

Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

Read the Academic Integrity Guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University’s Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University’s standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Penn State staff  works with thousands of students per year in group therapy, individual counseling, crisis intervention, and psychiatric services as well as providing prevention, outreach, and consultation services for the University community. Services at CAPS are designed to enhance students' ability to fully benefit from the University environment and academic experience.

Staff at CAPS can help students address concerns in a caring and supportive environment. CAPS can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships (friends, roommates, or family); sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs. For more information, please visit the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.