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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Elena Irwin honored as Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow

Dec. 30, 2020

AEDE's Elena Irwin was one of 25 Fellows of the Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) who were honored November 4, 2020 during a recognition ceremony at the virtual annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).  The Fellows were recognized for their accomplishments in completing the FSLI executive leadership development program and for contributions they have made to their individual organizations and the broader higher education and food systems. 

Irwin currently serves as distinguished professor of food, agricultural and environmental sciences in economics and sustainability in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and faculty director of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State.  Her current research includes coupled human-natural systems modeling of agricultural land use and water quality; food, energy, water systems modeling of the Great Lakes regional economy; sustainability theory and assessment; urbanization patterns and ecosystem services; and urban housing markets and redevelopment.

Additional Fellows from Ohio State include Dr. Sheryl Barringer, professor and chair of Food Science and Technology, and Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair, Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).

The FSLI is a 2-year program designed for experienced leaders in academia, government, and industry.  Through a dynamic curriculum that includes three executive style residential sessions, individual coaching, mentoring, and personal projects, the FSLI seeks to enhance personal leadership ability, develop skills and knowledge for organizational change, and broaden perspectives on integrated food systems. 

Fellows report that the FSLI experience has had a significant impact on their leadership abilities.  Leadership growth can be measured in many different ways, and more than forty percent of the FSLI Fellow Alumni have experienced promotions, selection to lead high-profile initiatives, election to university-wide leadership posts, and other recognitions.  Other Fellows are using their enhanced leadership and broader food systems perspectives to lead change from their current positions.  

The FSLI is a program of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.  It was created with financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is operated in a partnership between North Carolina State University, The Ohio State University, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  More information on the FSLI is available at