SEBS Hosts 2022 CASE Institute to Prepare Next Generation of High School Agricultural Educators

More than a dozen high school teachers and pre-service teachers in training to become agricultural educators from across the U.S came to the Rutgers Cook Campus to attend the CASE Institute focused on the course, “Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.” Held July 10-20, hosted by Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA), Office of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education.

An initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) is managed by the National Associate of the Agricultural Educators.

CASE develops agricultural education curricula to help meet educational and industry standards. Teachers become certified to teach the courses at “CASE Institutes,” which are typically held during the summer months. CASE Institutes are transformative, inquiry-based professional development opportunities for secondary school agriculture teachers to learn the curricula and become certified to teach that course. This year, there were 23 CASE Institutes being held at a number of locations across the nation.

“We appreciate the excellent CASE Institute conducted by Rutgers and the NJDA Office of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources. This high-quality teacher professional development prepares teachers for a full year of STEM-enhanced agriculture curriculum delivery to students,” said Nancy Trivette, director, National CASE Initiative. “As a New Jersey native and Rutgers alum, it gives me great pleasure to know New Jersey is using CASE to prepare students for college and careers in the agriculture industry.”

“By hosting a 2022 CASE Institute on the Cook Campus, Rutgers fulfills its mission as the land-grant institution in New Jersey to train the next generation of agriculture educators,” said Thomas Leustek, Dean of Academic Programs at SEBS.

Pre-service agricultural education student, Owen Donnelly, is a 2022 SEBS graduate who majored in Agriculture and Food Systems/teacher education track. He is currently in his fifth year at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in the 5-year Agricultural Science Education program leading to certification to teach agriculture in New Jersey.

“CASE helps ensure that my lessons will be rigid, but also engaging, interesting, and scaffolded in a way that my students can understand. Plus, in my case as a pre-service teacher, it makes me much more marketable to potential employees,” said Donnelly.

To grow interest in preparing more agricultural educators, SEBS offers a dual credit program whereby high school students who have successfully completed specific courses that are certified by CASE can receive college credit for comparable courses offered by Rutgers SEBS, if they matriculate at SEBS.

“There is a severe shortage of agricultural educators in New Jersey, as there is across the nation. This year, there are eight open positions in the state. There are very few careers where I can guarantee students will be able to obtain a rewarding job. Agricultural education is definitely one of them,” added Leustek. There are multiple pathways to becoming an agriculture teacher in New Jersey. In partnership with the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE), teachers who complete the CASE Institute can receive GSE credit (15:256:570).

For information on the CASE program, contact Thomas Leustek at