February 14, 2019 - Author: Samantha Ward
AFRE undergraduate students Lauren Heberling and Izzy Morton are this academic year’s representatives on the Undergraduate Policy Committee, helping to recommend changes to curriculum and processes within the three undergraduate majors in the department.
UPC representatives Izzy Morton and Lauren Heberling
“When I learned AFRE allows students to voice their opinions on UPC I knew I wanted to get involved,” said Morton. “Most departments don’t have active student members on these types of things, and as both an FIM and EEM major, I felt I had a well rounded perspective that would help provide good feedback.”
The Undergraduate Policy Committee (UPC) meets once a month to bridge faculty and student perspectives on challenges within the program and how to better the department as a whole.
“I feel like I'm giving back to the department in a way,” said Morton. “AFRE has really become a home for me, at a time when I didn't know what I wanted to do, and I want to make sure it continues to do that for many more students by offering the best programs and courses that it can.”
Working with AFRE faculty including Hongli Feng, Jim Hilker, Brent Ross, Satish Joshi, and Dave Weatherspoon, Heberling and Morton have brought new ideas that have already been implemented into the program.
“There have been so many great conversations and ideas since I have began on the UPC and going forward, I believe future AFRE students will continue to receive more and more out of their education,” said Heberling. “One of the biggest things I believe Izzy and myself have done so far is further opening the door for student feedback to be heard by the UPC. We have created an email that students can send concerns to and those concerns will be discussed at the upcoming meeting. Additionally, we are working on hosting a ‘town hall’ style event where students can voice concerns and we can translate that information directly back to the rest of the committee.”
The first of these town hall events will be held on Wednesday, February 20th at 5:00 PM in Room 48 of Ag Hall. All students are invited to come voice their concerns and engage in a conversation with us about current AFRE curriculum and other academic related issues. This event will be exclusively students and all comments will be recorded anonymously.
Both Heberling and Morton hope to continue to activate change within their programs, bringing insight not just from their experiences, but from students across the three majors.
“While I want the opinions and insight I give during committee meetings to be from personal experience, I also want to be sure I am always conversing with others in my classes and clubs to draw feedback from them and to be able to voice their feedback,” said Heberling.
“It’s a tremendous responsibility to accurately represent the interest of the entire student body within AFRE,” said Morton. “But I think Lauren and I have opened the doors to meaningful and relevant feedback into the department.”