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Academy of Food, Health, and Sustainability

Academy of Food, Health, and Sustainability

The Academy of Food, Health, and Sustainability was created within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech to serve as an interdisciplinary hub for scientific education, discovery, and outreach efforts across three of CALS Strategic Plan Priority Areas: Food, Nutrition, and Health; Agricultural Profitability and Environmental Sustainability; and Community Viability. CALS Dean Alan Grant and Associate Dean Susan Sumner chartered the Academy in 2015 with these directives:

  • To develop and house interdisciplinary, science-based minors and certificate programs, with the future possibility of degrees (majors).
  • To provide an organizational base for diverse faculty whose disciplinary interests are associated with the Academy's efforts.
  • To encourage faculty to pursue scholarly opportunities across the Academy’s priority areas.

Three Minors will be hosted within the Academy:

Each minor integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines focusing on reasoning in the natural and social sciences coupled with intercultural and global awareness within the overarching ethical theme of Ut Prosim - that I may serve. 

An Academy Scholars certificate program will be developed to train undergraduates in the hard and soft skills required to join a workforce focused on meeting the Grand Challenges of the 21st century as put forth by the USDA: food security and hunger; food safety; obesity; climate change; sustainable energy; and water.

To gain a certificate, students will be required to complete a 3-course (6-credit) sequence:

  • Pathways introduction course
  • Experiential Learning Activity (e.g., undergraduate research, independent study, internship, education abroad)
  • Capstone

Further, academy scholars will be encouraged to enroll in a special section of LDRS 1015, Exploring Citizen Leadership and to serve as an undergraduate academy scholar mentor for the next student cohort.

A longer-term possibility is the development and administration of new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree programs within the Academy of Food, Health, and Sustainability.


Faculty, if you have any minor or B.S. degree program ideas or if you want to join Academy committee and sub-committees, please contact:

Pete Ziegler
Research Assistant Professor