Research Projects

As the world population continues to increase, there is a growing demand for college graduates that have the skills to address the U.S. priorities of food security, sustainable, and environmental quality. The number of job openings in these priority areas is far greater than the number of qualified graduates with this expertise. In order to address this concern in Animal Sciences, my research program focuses on developing experiential platforms and classroom strategies to enhance student learning in animal science and develop intercultural competencies.

Increase Pipeline of Agricultural Work

Doctor Karcher's research program focuses on first and second year undergraduate students and how classroom environment and teaching strategies can impact interest and motivation to study food animal production. The following are some of the recent topics explored in her Introduction to Animal Agriculture course:

  • Interest and active learning techniques in an introductory animal science course
  • Motivational effects of hands-on, problem-based, and learning activities in an introductory college course
  • Written reflections improve interest of introductory animal science students

Increasing Awareness and Interest of the Poultry Industry 

Indiana ranks 3rd in table egg production, yet there are not enough college graduates to fill      all of the available job openings. First year college students often cite lack of awareness of the industry as one reason they decide early on not to pursue a career in the industry. Based on this, my research program has focused on designing STEM-based curriculum for elementary and high school students that emphasizes awareness and understanding of the poultry industry.

Global-Ready Graduates

We are a global society and students in agricultural disciplines must be culturally literate and have the capacity to communicate across diverse audiences. Skills, such as communication, empathy, and attitude, are critical for our students to be successful in a global society. My research program focuses on developing intercultural competencies in undergraduate agricultural students. The following are some of the recent topics explored by my research team:

  • Developing student empathy and intercultural competence in a first year STEM-based introductory course
  • Combining two high impact practices (study abroad and Learning Communities) to develop intercultural competence in undergraduate students
  • Creation of an embedded study abroad program to Vietnam as a novel approach to developing intercultural competence