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September 14, 2015

Announcements and Deadlines

Effective immediately all official WSU email communication must be sent to students’ WSU email address.


Awards and Achievements

Jessica Goldberger was recently elected Co-Chair (incoming chair) of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Research and Interest Group (SAFRIG) of the Rural Sociological Society. She will serve a three-year term, 2015-2017. SAFRIG is a community of scholars interested in the study of issues related to agriculture and food, including but not limited to, labor and production processes, distribution and markets, structures of inequality (race, gender, class), states and policy, knowledge and technology, and global and local change.



Soil Science Seminars
Johnson Hall 204, 1:10 p.m.

September 21 – James Moberly
“Metal Speciation: Bioavailablity and Toxicity”

September 28 – Annie Pollard
“Harnessing the Beneficial Attributes of Soil Microbes for Improved Crop Performance”


Crop Science Seminars
Johnson Hall 204, 2:30 p.m.

September 14 – Arron Carter
“Plant Breeding: A Serendipitous Adventure”

September 21- Michael Neff

Fall 2015 Student Choice Seminar
September 28 – Jeremy Bunch, Shepherd’s Grain
“Through New Eyes: Shepherd’s Grain and a Fresh Look at Ag Economics and Sustainable Agriculture”


CSS and  WRPIS Special Seminars
Johnson Hall 398W, 10:30 a.m.

September 15 – Dr. Alicia Massa, Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
“Using Genomic Tools to Advance Plant Breeding and Germplasm Conservation Efforts”

September 16 – Dr. Melinda Yerka, USDA-ARS Grain, Forage & Bioenergy Research Unit, Lincoln Nebraska
“Sorghum Germplasm Development at USDA-ARS in Lincoln, NE”

September 17 – Dr. Brian M. Irish, Horticulturist and Lead Scientist with the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station in Mayaguez, PR
“Spinach to Bananas: Plant Germplasm Conservation and Use”


CAHNRS Career Boot Camp
September 16, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Johnson Hall C-107
Final Career Boot Camp Slide


Farm walk and Potluck
September 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Eggert Family Organic Farm
For more information and to RSVP, contact Alison Detjens 509-433-8777


28th Annual Biosolids Management Conference
Biofest 2015: Walk the Talk
September 20-22, 2015
Campbell’s Resort – Lake Chelan


Agriculture, Food, and Society Discussions
“After Hours”
Cafe Moro, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
September 24- International Aid


CSS Barbeque
September 25, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Turfgrass Research Center
Please RSVP to by September 22


Graduate Grant Writing Workshop
October 3, 9:00-5:00

For more events, please see the Wheat and Small Grains website calendar.


Recently Published Articles

Quinoa bookKevin Murphy and Janet Matanguihan are editors on a book about quinoa, “Quinoa: Improvement and Sustainable Production.” The book has been published by John Wiley & Sons. The e-book is now available and the print version will come out in September 2015. You can find the book here.




If you have an article that has recently been published and would like to include it in the CSS News, please email Samantha Crow or Tami Nordquist.


Teaching Tips from Candis Carraway

Determine Lesson Objectives

Lesson planning seems to be a task that involves a lot of stress and anxiety for new teaching faculty. The first element in lesson planning is to determine the objectives of a lesson. Planning a lesson without setting objectives could be compared to building a house without deciding on a set of blueprints. You could get the house built, but it would probably not be as efficient as if you actually used a set of blueprints. Determining lesson objectives gives you focus for the lesson and a way to evaluate student learning. Objectives should be stated in one sentence or statement. Many teachers like to begin the objective with, “After this lesson, the student will be able to:” Using this statement can be useful for beginning teachers but is not absolutely necessary to use when stating/showing your objectives to the class. The next step is to decide on an action verb that will identify how the students will be assessed. Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart provides a list of learning related verbs divided into six levels of thinking. Following the verb you will identify the content that will be taught. For example:
At the completion of this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Identify the parts of a flower
• Describe the steps of photosynthesis
• Construct a model of a soil profile
There is not a magic number of objectives you should have, it depends on your topic and what your student outcomes are. Typically, the more basic skills (first two categories on Bloom’s Taxonomy chart) will not take as much time to teach as objectives that involve higher-order thinking skills (last four categories on Bloom’s Taxonomy chart.) By determining your objectives at the beginning of the lesson planning process you are giving yourself a blueprint for your lesson which will hopefully help you save time and teach more effectively. You should also refer back to these objectives when you are making your tests or other means of summative assessments. If your objective was to have students identify parts of flower that is what they should do for their test, not draw and label the parts of a flower. Label and identify are essentially the same thing but drawing would involve an additional objective. If you want them to draw the plant you should add another objective (example: create a drawing of a plant that shows all the plant parts.)

Rubrics are Your Friends

Rubrics are your friends for two reasons:

  1. Providing the students with a rubric provides them with your expectations which usually leads to them asking less questions about the assignment.
  2. It gives you (or your TA) a guideline for grading subjective assignments. This helps you be more consistent in your grading and provides you with something to refer to when a student questions your grading.

There are a lot of resources on the internet related to rubrics. Blackboard also has tools for creating rubrics and a tutorial. Just go to the Blackboard Help and search for rubrics.

Here are a few suggestions that I have.

  1. Rubrics should be as detailed as possible. This will take you more time to develop but will save you time when grading. For example let’s say that you have assigned the students to write a report and you want to add grammar and spelling as a part of the grade. Instead of just saying grammar and spelling is worth 4 points, provide a description of what earns 4 points, 3 points, etc… (See the rubrics below)
  2. Include a section for each element of the assignment that you expect from the students. Point values should be placed on each section based on its importance to you. If you believe that the “Product Development Requirements” section is more important than “Grammar and Spelling” then award more points to that section.
  3. Leave room on your rubric to make notes as you are grading. This will assist you in assigning a point value and give the students some feedback.

To see rubric examples, click here.



If you have an item you would like in the CSS News, please email Samantha Crow or Tami Nordquist.