Standard 6 – Area of Specialization
T
he program requires specialized study – beyond that required for basic preparation – in one of the following domains: animal science, plant and soil science, ornamental horticulture, agricultural business management, environmental science and natural resource management, or agricultural systems technology. One subject matter specialization area must be developed to the extent that the candidate has advanced knowledge, skill, and ability to integrate concepts in greater depth than that required for the single subject credential in agriculture.

Required Elements for Standard 6 – Area of Specialization:

6(a) The program design includes specific procedures for identifying each candidate’s area of specialization and the activities the candidate will complete to fulfill this program requirement.

6(b) The program requires each candidate to demonstrate advanced knowledge in one of the six domains in agriculture as defined in the Specific Preconditions for the Agriculture Specialist Instruction Credential.

Area of Specialization

All incoming students at California State University, Fresno are required to attend a mandatory orientation session before they can enroll in classes. Students are informed of the specialization requirement and the occupational experience requirement for attaining credentials to teach Agricultural Education in California during this orientation. Information is also provided about opportunities to gain occupational experience in their area of specialization both on campus and in the surrounding community. All Agricultural Education majors meet with an advisor every semester and these faculty advisors check student progress toward meeting all requirements for the teaching credentials including coursework and progress toward gaining occupational experience in their specialization area. If candidates need additional experiences in their specialization area, faculty advisors make recommendations and assist candidates in obtaining additional experiences in their specialization area. California State University, Fresno offers specializations in four of the above areas, as approved by the Agricultural Education Advisory Committee. These four specialization areas are Animal Science, Plant and Soil Science, Agricultural Mechanics, and Agricultural Business. In addition to the core subject matter courses, candidates are required to take an additional fifteen semester units of specialization coursework to meet the specialization requirement. Suggested courses for each specialization area are listed on the student advising sheet located in the Appendix.

Candidates are advised of the specialization requirement when they attend the mandatory orientation program for newly enrolled University students. During this orientation each student selects a tentative specialization area and they are provided a “Road Map” advising sheet for that area. They also receive an advising sheet that lists the recommended specialization courses in addition to general education requirements and the core agriculture courses required for all agricultural education majors. As they progress through the program they have the opportunity to change specialization areas; however, they must meet the 15 semester unit requirement for one specialization area in order to graduate. During the final semester of the student’s undergraduate program, they meet with an advisor and the advisor lists the courses that meet the specialization requirement in a memorandum that is signed by the advisor and department chair and submitted to the University evaluations unit. The evaluations unit checks all completed coursework including the specialization requirements and verifies the student’s eligibility to graduate or notifies them of any deficiencies. Candidates and advisors track degree progress via an online computer program that shows courses completed and courses needed to complete the degree program. Candidates and advisors may also view an unofficial copy of their University transcript at this same site.

In AGED 135, Introduction to Agricultural Education, candidates are presented with information regarding the requirements for obtaining both the Single Subject in Agriculture and the Agriculture Specialist Credentials. The four specialization areas offered at CSUF are covered along with all other credential requirements.

Candidates in CI 161, Methods and Materials in Secondary Agricultural Education, are required plan and teach micro-lessons as part of this course. Candidates are allowed to select the topic area for their lessons and are encouraged to teach at least one micro-lesson in their specialization area. A copy of a lesson development assignmentis located in the Appendix. Candidates are assessed on both their technical agriculture knowledge and pedagogy in CI 161, Methods and Materials in Secondary Teaching.

In AGRI 280, Seminar in Agricultural Education, candidates make presentations based on their experiences in final student teaching. This course allows candidates to focus on their specialization area and interact with other students teaching similar courses during final student teaching. Strategies for handling students and developing lessons specific to the specialization areas are discussed and shared among candidates enrolled in the seminar course.

In AGRI 281, Problems in Agricultural Education, candidates are required to identify, study, and develop a project that benefits the agriculture program and/or local community. Candidates are encouraged to select a problem that relates to their specialization area. For example, agricultural mechanics candidates often construct and/or install items that require the candidate and students to utilize agricultural mechanics skills. Plant science, candidates often select problems that require ornamental horticulture, or other plant science skills to complete. The same applies to the animal science and agriculture business specialization areas. The selected project must be approved by both the cooperating master teacher and the university supervisor.

During EHD 155A, Student Teaching in Secondary School, candidates spend time observing cooperating teachers and then begin to assume the role of a classroom/laboratory teacher. Student assignments to cooperating schools are made by the university supervisor. The supervisor takes into consideration the candidate’s specialization area when making assignments to provide opportunity for each candidate to gain experience teaching in their area of specialization. While this is not always possible due to the limitations of time (half-day), and the limitations of cooperating schools in close proximity to the University, and the number of beginning student teachers during the semester. In one or both of the two field experience courses, candidates will observe and teach in their specialization area. During the semester that candidates are enrolled in initial student teaching they are provided with a T-14 Form to complete. This form is used to document their occupational experience. On the form the candidate must list all agricultural experience and the level of expertise they based on their experiences. The experience must be approved prior to enrollment in final student teaching.

Candidates enrolled in EHD 155B, Student Teaching in Secondary School, are assigned by the Agricultural Education Program Coordinator. These assignments take into consideration the specialization area, the candidate’s strengths/weaknesses, along with other candidate circumstances. Candidates are assigned to schools that offer courses related to their specialization area. The cooperating master teacher and university supervisor work together to ensure that the candidate gains experience in teaching a number of different agriculture courses including those in their respective specialization area.

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