Aaron McKim

Aaron McKim

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Associate Professor and Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education Program Lead
Department of Community Sustainability


Aaron McKim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability. Aaron’s research focuses on the facilitation of interdisciplinary learning spaces within the context of agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR) education. In this work, Aaron explores the role educators, both formal and non-formal, play in making connections between AFNR and science, mathematics, leadership, and engineering. This work is compelled by the critical need to prepare individuals to think outside traditional disciplinary boundaries to solve complex problems at the nexus of social and ecological interactions. Aaron is establishing a portfolio of funded projects, with current work funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Michigan Department of Education (MDE). His research helps to inform his teaching in AFNR education, which includes a preservice teacher education course focused on program planning (i.e., TE 408). In addition to his work in AFNR education, Aaron has a passion for research and teaching within leadership. Aaron’s leadership research seeks to challenge traditional notions of leadership being influence, linear change, and organization and replace, instead, the concept of leadership for sustainability. Leadership for sustainability suggests all members of a system are responsible for guiding that system toward ecological, economic, and social sustainability; thus, the act of leadership being the responsibility of an identified “leader” is challenged. In this scholarship, Aaron positions leadership for sustainability as a required way of thinking to address the increasingly complex and consequential challenges faced by society. Leadership for sustainability presents an exciting opportunity to shape conversations about research and practice related to leadership for many years to come. Aaron’s scholarship on leadership for sustainability guides his teaching of a leadership for sustainability course (CSUS 322).

Educational Background

B.S., Agricultural Education, Purdue University

M.S., Agricultural Education, Oregon State University

Ph.D., Science Education, Oregon State University

Selected Publications

Haddad, B., Traini, H. Q., & McKim, A. J. (2023). We’ve crossed a line: A philosophical examination of systemic implications surrounding SBAE teachers’ attempts at boundary setting. Journal of Agricultural Education, 64(1), 82-95. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.v64i1.31

McKim, A. J., & Goodwin, C. M. (2021). Emergent opportunities in complexity, leadership, and sustainability. Journal of Leadership Studies, 15(3), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/jls.21778

McKim, A. J., Sorensen, T. J., & Burrows, M. (2021). The COVID-19 pandemic and agricultural education: An exploration of challenges faced by teachers. Journal of Natural Sciences Education, 50(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1002/nse2.20060

McKim, A. J., & McKendree, R. B. (2020). Metacognition, systems thinking, and problem-solving ability in school-based agriculture, food, and natural resources education. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 1(1), 38-47. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v1i1.21

McKim, A. J., Raven, M. R., Palmer, A., & McFarland, A. (2019). Community as context and content: A land-based learning primer for agriculture, food, and natural resources education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(1), 172-185. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2019.01172

Scherer, H. H., McKim, A. J., Wang, H., DiBenedetto, C. A., & Robinson, K. (2019). Making sense of the buzz: A systematic review of “STEM” in agriculture, food, and natural resources education literature. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(2), 28-53. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2019.02028

McKim, A. J., Pauley, C. M., Velez, J. J., & Sorensen, T. J. (2018). Interdisciplinary learning opportunities in agriculture, food, natural resources, and science: The role of the teacher. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 179-196. doi:10.5032/jae.2018.02179

McKim, A. J., Forbush, M. E., & McKendree, R. B. (2018). Sustainable water management in agriculture, food, and natural resources education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 166-178. doi:10.5032/jae.2018.02166

McKim, A. J., & Sorensen, T. J. (2018). An innovative model of agricultural education and training in Guinea: Trending toward self-sustainability. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 25(1), 10-23. doi:10.5191/jiaee.2018.25102

McKim, A. J., Velez, J. J., & Sorensen, T. J., (2018). A national analysis of school-based agricultural education involvement, graduation, STEM achievement, and income. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 70-85. doi:10.5032/jae.2018.01070

Links to Affiliated Projects, Groups, and Organizations

Curriculum Resources for Michigan Agriculture Teachers