Last week, I was in Santa Fe, NM with the entire VESTA crew, and we worked hard to identify gaps in our curriculum in terms of what tasks are required in different viticulture and enology occupations. From permanent vineyard worker positions all the way up to a director of vineyard operations, we assessed tasks required for 12 viticulture positions and 11 enology positions. We then compared the learning objectives for each course taught within the VESTA program and identified where there may be gaps – places where our curriculum was not covering tasks typical for these industry positions.
The result: We’re not perfect, which we already knew. The beauty of the annual curriculum review process is that we find new way to adjust the curriculum to provide the best education we can to our students. So, yeah, we found some gaps, which we thought we would. Now, we are making some changes to the curriculum and specific classes to address these changes. For example, one thing that became clear was that our students rarely get any experience operating tractors or calibrating sprayers, although this is discussed in classes. We’ve come up with a few options to address this, although none are set in stone, and it may fall on the partnering institutions to partner with local resources to help our students. I, for one, am planning a tractor safety workshop in conjunction with the local Ohio State University Extension office.
What I have learned while working for VESTA for the past 14 months is that while everyone work hard, we play just as hard, and everyone had a great time in Santa Fe. We were so efficient that we had some time to take in the sights around Santa Fe. Finishing the meeting with a solid strategy capped off the highly productive (and fun!) week nicely. Stay tuned to VESTA updates for more information!
With that, I leave you with a few fun images from our 2014 VESTA Curriculum Retreat.