Background & Development

​PK-1​​2 Council Members Jeff Rollins, Agricultural Communications​​, and Renee McKee of 4-H and Youth Development at the PK-12 Council's Engagement and Outreach Showcase.

Purdue College of Agriculture has been actively engaged with helping PK-12 teachers and students connect with STEM through agricultural content across many decades. In 2007, Dale Whittaker appointed a committee to assess the need for PK-12 engagement in the College of Agriculture. Natalie Carroll chaired the committee, which consisted of 8 members (Harla​n Day, Sherry Fulk-Bringman, Kevin Gibson, Becky Goetz, Neil Knobloch, Tom Turpin, & Rod Williams). The committee prepared and shared a white paper the Purdue Agriculture Leadership team, “Advancing the College of Agriculture’s Impact on PK-12 Education.” The white paper outlined four strategies with metrics. In 2009, Dean Akridge unveiled the Purdue College of Agriculture Strategic Plan 2009-2014, which outlined initiatives, actions, and metrics for five strategic goals. Strategic Goal #5 states, “Expand the pool of students interested in, and prepared for, careers in food, agricultural, life, and natural resource sciences.”

Vic Lechtenburg and Mary Ann Santos de Barona established a university-level council for K-12 Engagement in the Spring of 2010. Dean Akridge asked Neil Knobloch to serve as the College of Agriculture’s representative on this council. Dean Akridge initiated the PK-12 Council via a message to the Purdue College of Agriculture Administrative Council on January 23, 2011. His message explained the purpose of the PK-12 Council, and requested nominations for representatives from each department/unit in the College. He mentioned that involvement on the PK-12 Council was voluntary with an emphasis on organizing a group of people in the College who wanted to be involved in discussions about PK-12 Engagement.