Dear Editor,

Over the last 5 months, the IFT Education Advisory Panel has been assessing ways to enhance the value of the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo for attendees from the academic community and others who are interested in excellence in teaching, learning, research, and extension/outreach. On November 9th, the Board of Directors approved the proposed recommendations for repositioning and enhancing what was formerly known as the “Education and Professional Development” track. This new, innovative design will be referred to as the Teaching & Learning SPA (Science Practice Application) Program.

Utilizing insights gained from the responses to a survey that went to over 6100 food scientists, the Education Advisory Panel outlined 3 major components for the Teaching & Learning SPA Program:

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    Interaction and time for informal discussions in the SPA Lounge. The SPA Lounge will be a gathering place open for the duration of the Annual Meeting and will serve many purposes, including networking with others interested in teaching and learning, including presenters and award winners, and participating in interactive sessions.
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    New skill-building courses that will address topics on which food science educators are seeking information, such as best practices.
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    A keynote speaker modeled after the Beacon Lecturer will speak on a topic connected to food science education. Following the lecture, an interactive workshop with the speaker will be offered to round out this half-day event and provide a deep dive into the materials presented.

To help foster year-around learning, there is a plan to help collect teaching and learning resources (that is, sample curriculum, case studies) and promote research in JFSE. These will likely be collected within the Education Division's online community resource library. We hope these resources will help inspire programming at the Annual Meeting. Similarly, it is our intention that material presented at the Annual Meeting will be posted in this resource and/or will be written for publication in JFSE.

To learn more about these recommendations, view the final report here. A workgroup is currently being appointed to ensure these recommendations are implemented at the 2013 Annual Meeting. If you have an idea for the Teaching & Learning SPA Program, or would like to be considered to help develop programming, please submit your name via instructions here.

Sincerely yours,

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[ “IFT Education Advisory Panel, September 2012” ]