Enhancing the Food & Nutrition Teaching Facility

This project aimed to improve the nutrition and dietetics curriculum by upgrading the teaching and laboratory facility.  This would make the space consistent with the vital, relevant academic programs and meeting programmatic teaching and safety standards. The upgrade (1) allowed students to be trained in quantity food production; (2) provided an avenue for practical experience in the areas of food management, costing, purchasing, inventory, forecasting and production; (3) provided large quantity food preparation equipment such as industrial oven, ranges, refrigerator and storage; and (4) allowed students to conduct scientific food experiments using modern scientific equipment. These practical aspects of teaching were limited in the curriculum due to inadequate facility and lack of equipment. The proposed upgrade ensured that the facilities were consistent with the experience required by students to meet programmatic and academic standards. The two major goals were to renovate the Human Nutrition and Food teaching facilities, and to revise the Nutrition and curriculum to be consistent with the new teaching facility.

Former Human Nutrition and Food teaching facilities

The five year cycle included removal and storage of all salvageable equipment, removing and discarding old equipment and furnishings, structural demolition of the interior rooms including electrical and plumbing equipment, selecting a new architectural design for the laboratory space to accommodate the program, large and small equipment selection and installation, as well as faculty staff, and student training.  The curricula for laboratory classes taught in these labs were revised to reflect the capability of the facility and in keeping with the accreditation guidelines.

Old Laboratory

The nutrition teaching facility was a deplorable condition. None-the-less, faculty had to utilize the facilities for instructional and laboratory experiences. These practical aspects of teaching were limited due to inadequate teaching facility and a lack of equipment. The lack of equipment and teaching tools prevented the implementation of upgraded teaching curricula.

The first phase involved the initial inspection of the facility by qualified personnel who then determined the extent of the repairs needed. Representative from the university physical plant facility was contacted to conduct a thorough inspection of the facility and to assist in determining needed upgrades. The effort was officially entered into a formal bid process and the architects were selected based on the University procedure. Phase 2 of the project involved the demolition, renovation and structural upgrades of work areas, equipment, hardware, and demonstration spaces. The design for the new facility was selected by the program director with input from nutrition faculty. The final phase consisted of the installation of hardware and fixed equipment. This included the acquisition and placement of large scale equipment, computer and video hardware, small appliances/equipment and needed electronics. Faculty staff and student training on new equipment and technology application were conducted as necessary. Course revisions were made as deemed necessary to maintain accreditation status and to incorporate laboratory exercises that would utilize the updated equipment.

State of the art Laboratory Facilities

The laboratory facilities are now state of the art. Labs are equipped with needed items to facilitate teaching and student learning.  Classes utilizing these rooms now include basic foods, food science, meat science, physiochemical foods, food quality assurance, and food systems management. All applicable course curricula have been revised.

Activities in Laboratory

Laboratory Facilities in use

Students and faculty now have access to the teaching facility. Prior to the renovation of the facility, students were conducting experiments and assignments at home. They would then photograph the results and submit to the instructor for verification and grading. All students in the department now have the opportunity to work with the instructor and are able to complete their lab assignments/exercises on site. The closing of the animal science building have resulted in the meat science course being taught in May Hall. The renovated labs have provided an opportunity for students to receive hands on practical training that complements their theoretical learning resulting in better prepared students.

For more information contact:

Dr. Sharon McWhinney, slmcwhinney@pvamu.edu