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Educating the Next Generation of Interdisciplinary Researchers to Tackle Global Sustainability Challenges: A Graduate Course


  • Hertel, Thomas W.


This paper describes an innovative graduate course in agricultural economics that has evolved over the past decade and attracts students from across the Purdue University campus. Its novel combination of guest lectures on key sustainability topics, and intensive, computer-based lab assignments with the SIMPLE model of global food and environmental security, prepares students to undertake innovative projects. These independent projects are presented to the class, written up, and submitted in lieu of a final exam. The topics covered are quite diverse and range from the impacts of women empowerment on food security, to the consequences of heat stress on farm workers, and the impact of reducing food waste. The course has spawned two dozen published journal articles, inspired MS and PhD theses, and facilitated a number of important interdisciplinary projects. The complete syllabus, lab assignments, and detailed course design are made available for others to use and adapt to their own circumstances. Future versions of the course will seek to incorporate explicitly spatial analysis of agriculture, land, water, and environmental quality outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Hertel, Thomas W., 2021. "Educating the Next Generation of Interdisciplinary Researchers to Tackle Global Sustainability Challenges: A Graduate Course," Applied Economics Teaching Resources (AETR), Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 2(6), January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaeatr:308494
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.308494

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hertel, Thomas W., 2010. "The Global Supply and Demand for Agricultural Land in 2050: A Perfect Storm in the Making?," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 92639, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Molden, David & Frenken, K. & Barker, R. & de Fraiture, Charlotte & Mati, Bancy & Svendsen, M. & Sadoff, Claudia W. & Finlayson, Max & Atapattu, Sithara & Giordano, Mark & Inocencio, Arlene & Lannerst, 2007. "Trends in water and agricultural development," IWMI Books, Reports H040195, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Hertel, Thomas W. & de Lima, Cicero Z., 2020. "Viewpoint: Climate impacts on agriculture: Searching for keys under the streetlight," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    4. Liu, Jing & Hertel, Thomas W. & Lammers, Richard & Prusevich, Alexander & Baldos, Uris Lantz C. & Grogan, Danielle S. & Frolking, Steve, 2017. "Achieving Sustainable Irrigation Water Withdrawals: Global Impacts on Food Security and Land Use," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258118, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Thomas W. Hertel, 2011. "The Global Supply and Demand for Agricultural Land in 2050: A Perfect Storm in the Making?-super- 1," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 259-275.
    6. Hertel, Thomas, 1997. "Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and applications," GTAP Books, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, number 7685.
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