In the late 1980s, after the Costa Rican Congress passed the law creating EARTH, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we gathered an international team of leaders in agricultural higher education to design the EARTH University academic model.
We started with our mission—to prepare leaders to contribute to the sustainable development of the humid tropics and to construct a prosperous and just society—and began working backward, breaking paradigms in higher education in order to ensure graduates with the competencies necessary to fulfill this mission. These competencies were then grouped into four formative areas: social and environmental awareness and commitment, technical and scientific knowledge, ethical entrepreneurship, and positive values, becoming the foundation of our curriculum. When we got down to how we were going to teach, we decided to place our emphasis on learning, leading to the dynamic, individualized and participatory educational process that characterizes our model today.
More than two decades later, while we are continually evaluating and improving upon this model, it remains fundamentally the same and more importantly, has proven effective in producing leaders with the commitment and capacity to foster positive change in their families, communities and countries.
In recent years there has been increased interest from the global academic community for a written description of our model. I’m pleased to share with you that this month we published a summary of our academic model in three languages on our website (earth.ac.cr), and will be adding comprehensive descriptions of our model’s fundamental components in both Spanish and English.
We invite you to learn more about EARTH’s one-of-a-kind approach to higher education, which at its core regards each and every student as a human being with unique skills and aspirations to be discovered and nurtured.