Richard Rosecrance—Teaching Sustainable Agriculture
"I regard all students as discoverers of new facts, rather than as receptacles for memorizing previously developed knowledge."
Before coming to CSU, Chico in 1998, Rich Rosecrance worked in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. After earning a BS in agronomy from Cornell University he worked in the highlands of Nepal on a sustainable agriculture development project.
He lived in a small town at the base of Mount Everest, a five-day walk from the nearest road. “I served for three years in this isolated province with few resources and virtually no disposable income among its residents,” he says. “It was, needless to say, quite an eye-opening experience for a 23-year old.”
Following Peace Corps, Rosecrance worked at the University of the South Pacific in Alafua, Western Samoa as an agroforestry researcher and lecturer. In 1990, he received an MS degree in horticulture from the University of Hawaii, then a PhD in agricultural plant ecology from the University of California, Davis in 1996. After a two-year post doc at UC Davis and the USDA in Maryland, he joined the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico.
“My teaching philosophy is focused on helping students learn how to learn,” says Rosecrance. “I like students to think of me as a facilitator, and I dislike the word ‘instructor’—it suggests that knowledge can be unilaterally imparted—an empty vessel to be filled. On the contrary, education is cooperation between teacher and students, who must be respected as adults and expected to act accordingly. I regard all students as discoverers of new facts, rather than as receptacles for memorizing previously developed knowledge.”
Rosecrance has taught classes in a wide variety of subjects both at CSU, Chico and abroad, including Fruit and Nut Production, Agricultural Ecology, Introduction to Wines, Introduction to Plant Science, and Agriculture Research Methods.
Rosecrance’s research and professional interests are on fruit tree physiology and plant mineral nutrition. He received a Fulbright in 2004 to work at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa on fruit tree nutrition and taught classes in plant propagation and plant mineral nutrition in South Africa.
He has an interest in diversity and multiculturalism, and also enjoys hiking, biking, rock climbing, and traveling.