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International School for Food Protection: 21st Century’s Food Industry Classroom?

Opinion

The newly opened International School for Food Protection (ISFP) was developed to provide an environment different from traditional professional adult learning experiences.

A spokesman said, “The School management team recognizes that experienced food professionals are generally well-versed in their core scientific knowledge, academic education and work experiences. We want to build on their working food industry knowledge to strengthen the critical thinking, decision making and leadership skills that are essential to be an effective food industry professional.”

The ISFP uses Bloom’s taxonomy, a multi-tiered model of classifying thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity, as the basis for its structured learning approach.

Throughout the years, these levels have often been depicted as a stairway climbing to a higher level of thought. The basic levels are knowledge, comprehension, and application. The highest levels are analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom’s learning objectives are used to define how well a particular skill or competency is learned or mastered.

To meet the complex food safety challenges facing the food industry, the ISFP curriculum was developed to go well beyond current education and training standards. Introductory courses are designed to allow students to learn the complex interdependencies that characterize the global food supply environment.  That knowledge serves as a building block to move to more advanced levels of learning.

Successive courses introduce students to the higher order thinking skills: analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Upon completion of the courses, students should gain a mastery of critical thinking, decision-making and the essential skills necessary to be an effective leader in the globalized food protection environment.

The ISFP curriculum is influenced by science and technology to reflect the changes taking place in the food industry.  It encourages people to look at old problems in new ways in order to find unique solutions. Courses teach the newest science- and risk-based methods and implementing technologies to help food enterprises increase their competitive advantage across areas including food defense, food safety, asset management and protection, bio-safety, information technology, critical infrastructure protection, business intelligence, risk management and organizational transformation.

The advancement of skill levels at the ISFP is tied to achieving higher “belts,” similar to the martial arts, starting with a White Belt based on knowledge gained working within the food industry. A Yellow Belt is attained by successfully completing two 3.5 day onsite training courses that include eLearning: one in food defense and second in food safety.

Next are the Green, Blue and Red Belts leading to the final mastery of the complete curriculum at the Black Belt level – students who have become Certified Food Protection Professionals (CFPP).

The ISFP faculty, according to a spokesman, brings experience from industry, government, the military and academia to the classroom. Their advanced degrees are supported by real world work experience. They possess the teaching skills which enable them to integrate their subject matter expertise with case studies, experiential exercises, advanced technology tools and the most current thinking and practice in food safety and food defense.

The Dean of the ISFP is Dr. Bart Michelson. He has served as a senior consultant and advisor to the Department of Defense, working with the DOD Senior Executive Leadership Program, Joint Staff, Armed Forces Inauguration Committee, J7 Joint Vision and Transformation Directorate and US Army Strategic Advanced Computing Center. He has provided similar services to other Federal Agencies including the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, the Office of Homeland Security, Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Executive Institute, Nuclear Regulatory Agency, National Geospatial Agency, and Department of Energy National Laboratories, as well as numerous business and non-profit organizations.

The corporate sponsor of the ISFP is FoodQuestTQ, LLC, a software technology company, located in Frederick, Maryland, established in 2010 to develop a new generation of quantitative risk management tools for the food industry. FoodQuestTQ will be offering these tools at the National Food Protection Collaboratory beginning July 10, 2012.

The National Food Protection Collaboratory (NFPC) is a web-based, world-wide community of people, businesses and organizations dedicated to the goal of keeping the world’s food supply safe and abundant.  The International School for Food Protection (ISFP) was founded to be the professional development and research component of FoodQuestTQ, LLC.

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