Edwards Recognized for Completion of Food Systems Leadership Institute
Friday, December 4, 2020
A leader among leaders, Jeff Edwards, professor and head of the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, recently completed the Food Systems Leadership Institute.
Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) is an Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities program dedicated to developing individual and institutional leadership for a 21st Century food system. The program curriculum focuses on a series of core leadership competencies and three complementary threads: individual leadership; leading change within organizations; and understanding and influencing complex, diverse food systems. This curriculum lays the groundwork for leaders who will transition food systems research, education and outreach to broader, more holistic approaches.
“I learned to appreciate the vast, interconnected network that makes our food systems,” Edwards said. “When you are involved in production agriculture, you have a tendency to focus on the production side of the equation. However, we are in the business of producing food and how that food is accessed and consumed is just as important as how it is produced. The process and experience reaffirmed that my career goals should be focused on impacting the food system.”
Edwards said Cynda Clary, associate dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture and past FLSI participant, encouraged him to apply for the program and spoke very highly of its benefits.
“An effective leader must commit to being a continual learner; and be willing to learn more about themselves and those they lead,” Clary said. “The FSLI program requires a considerable investment of time and active engagement over a two-year period. Dr. Edwards embraced this opportunity, and we applaud this accomplishment.”
Edwards said he learned a lot about himself from this experience and will take his new knowledge to the classroom when teaching students.
“We encourage students to become lifelong learners and we should hold ourselves to the same standards,” Edwards said. “I believe to be good at your job, whatever that job may be, you should always be working to learn new skills and techniques that will make you better at what you do."