March 9, 2022

5 Key Ways IFSL Differs from Other Food System Certificates & Programs

5 Key Ways IFSL Different

Research has shown that classroom training, experiential learning, on-the-job application of skills and peer-to-peer learning are powerful learning tools. For an industry as complex as our global food system, an integrated curriculum with all of these learning methods is necessary for future food system leaders looking to make a difference and pave a better path forward.

That’s where the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Food System Leadership (IFSL) program comes in. With the mission of growing leaders to feed the future, IFSL was developed to equip emerging food system leaders with the knowledge, skills and leadership mindset needed to achieve a more effective and sustainable food system from private to public, from farm to fork. 

Here are five key ways IFSL’s distinctive graduate certificate program is achieving its’ mission and helping food system professionals achieve better outcomes - both personally and professionally: 

  1. Collaboration of Three Colleges + Food System Industry Leaders 
    The IFSL program was made possible by the vision and collaboration of three colleges at University of Minnesota who recognized the need to break down silos to achieve better results: College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), School of Public Health (SPH), and College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Additionally, IFSL has a growing group of industry advisors from organizations such as Ecolab, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Cargill, General Mills, and more, who contribute to the program by providing mentorship, course input and participation, and advice to students. 

  2. Food System Education + Leadership Skills Development
    The IFSL program expands the knowledge, understanding, and intricacies of the entire food system from farm to fork. The program also focuses on developing leadership skills to help participants more effectively engage, collaborate, and facilitate better outcomes within their organizations, regionally and globally.  This holistic approach supports the vision and mission of the program.

  3. Hands-on Experience with Relevant and Timely Curriculum
    With input on important and relevant topics from the program’s student, IFSL incorporates timely challenges as learning opportunities for discussions. Topics and assignments explored by the IFSL students include new food claims regulations, global to local food insecurity, introduction of non-regulated foods and ingredients, and the impact of COVID-19 on the food system, to name a few. The students are already achieving results and making an impact within their organizations and careers.

  4. Right Format! Small, Engaging Course Model + Manageable Weekly Schedules
    Geared towards working professionals, the IFSL format provides an interactive environment for discussions, analysis, and sharing of viewpoints with fellow students across the food system. The manageable schedules and format includes interaction with industry, peers, and the program’s advisory panel. Online courses provide a variety of interactive opportunities for students and instructors through discussions, group projects, and Zoom meetings. 

  5. Course Credits Can be Applied Towards Graduate Degree
    University of Minnesota graduate level course credits are earned for every IFSL course and may be applied to future graduate degree plans. The newly offered Master of Professional (MPS) in Applied Sciences Leadership also provides IFSL program participants the opportunity to pursue their master’s from the onset, or have the option to enroll to the next level of education and academic achievement at a later date. 

It goes without saying that learning does not stop in the classroom. IFSL was designed to show leaders how to develop a growth mindset that will propel food system professionals into lifelong learners and inspiring leaders. 

From a manageable schedule of online courses to the opportunity to collaborate with a network of industry peers and experts, the IFSL program is uniquely designed to help participants navigate their careers successfully, all while helping to develop skills and knowledge to make an impact.

Whether you're looking for career advancement or ready to take a step toward being a food system leader who understands the intricacies and demands the food system faces, the IFSL program is suited for you. Learn more about becoming a candidate, advisor, friend of the program, and more by reaching out at [email protected].

The University of Minnesota Integrated Food Systems Leadership (IFSL) Program is designed for professionals interested in accelerating their careers. The IFSL program is a unique, online, graduate certificate program that fosters leadership, collaboration, and innovation across the food system. IFSL is a Post-Baccalaureate Regents Certificate program aimed at bridging the gap between traditional food system education and a professional leadership program

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