Wes Jackson To Teach Summer Course at KWU

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Wes Jackson to Teach Summer Course at Kansas Wesleyan University


Wes Jackson to Teach Summer Course at Kansas Wesleyan University

This summer Kansas Wesleyan is thrilled to welcome back to campus, 1958 alumnus, Wes Jackson, Ph.D., renowned expert in the field of sustainable agriculture. Dr. Jackson will teach “The Resettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,” a three-credit course offered Monday through Friday, June 30-July 25. The course is open to the public.

Founder and president of The Land Institute, Dr. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at KWU and went on to establish and serve as chair of one of the country’s first environmental studies programs at California State University-Sacramento. He left academia to return to Kansas and establish The Land Institute in 1976.

He is the author of several books including New Roots for Agriculture, Becoming Native to This Place, Consulting the Genius of the Place, and most recently Nature as Measure. Dr. Jackson is widely recognized as a leader in the international movement for a more sustainable agriculture. He has been recognized with esteemed awards including being named a Pew Conservation Scholar and a MacArthur Fellow.  

Course participants will enjoy presentations from such prominent guest lecturers as Josh Svaty, a fifth generation farmer now on staff at The Land Institute, who brings his experience and insights of having been a state legislator, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, and senior adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7. Also lecturing will be ecologist Tim Crews, Ph.D, director of research at The Land Institute. Trips to the prairie and The Land Institute will complement the classroom curriculum.

For more information, visit, www.kwu.edu/environment. Class will remain open through June 27 or until filled. Contact Gerald Gillespie for more information. 

Click here for information on transfer creditsClick here for a complete listing of KWU summer courses. Learn more about taking summer courses at KWU.

Wes Jackson

BIOL 485: Resettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
3 credit hour class
Monday through Friday, 1-2:50 p.m.
Cost:  $120/credit hour (non-degree seeking students); $240 per credit hour (students)
Application fee waived


For some 10,000 years grain agriculture has been an extractive and degrading economy. Perceptive citizens have long been mindful of soil erosion and in recent times, concern about fossil fuel dependency and chemical contamination. In addition, land use ranks as the number two source of greenhouse gases. Organizations have arisen to address the problems. Farmers have responded with altered practices, but the problems escape a satisfactory solution. There have been cultural consequences. A mass exodus from small towns and rural communities was at once the consequence of industrial agriculture and with it the cultural seedstock for traditional farming mostly gone. A diagnosis of these ecospheric ills as the consequence of grain production (some 70% of our calories come from about 70% of agricultural acreage) has sponsored a conceptual revolution for a grain producing agriculture. Perennial grains are now on the horizon, and the science of ecology and evolutionary biology stands ready to feature the ecosystem as the conceptual tool. Recent advances in genetics and the computational power of our time has helped pave the way. Agriculture is likely to become the first example of a sustainable endeavor within an industrial society. Beyond saving the soil and water resources there are social and political implications as well, mostly positive one hopes.


6/30     Introduction and tour of facilities of The Land Institute                               

7/1       1977 The Unsettling of America (1977) and “Our Deserted Country (2014) by Wendell Berry     

7/2       Agriculture as an extractive economy                                                            

7/3       A conceptual revolution struggling to be born                                               

7/7       The role of ecology in agriculture (Dr. Crews)                                                          

7/8       Field Trip (Dr. Crews)

7/9       What does the secretary of Agriculture need to know? (Mr. Svaty)            

7/10     Instructor’s Report on D.C. meetings                                                           

7/11     The Green Revolution                                                                             

7/14     Consulting the Genius of the Place                                                                

7/15     The 50-Year Farm Bill                                                                                   

7/16     The Next Synthesis                                                                                       

7/17     Field/Lab Experience

7/18     Becoming Native to This Place

7/21     Toward an Ignorance Based World View                                                      

7/22     David Defeats Goliath: An Appropriate Analogy for Our Time?

7/23     The Value of an Historical Imagination

7/24     Summary of each of his last two books (Dr. Cox)

7/25     Final Evaluation


Learn more about our new major in Environmental Studies and Community Resilience.