CAUSES Five-Year Report
This report provides an overview of the accomplishments and services provided by the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), of the University of the District of Columbia.

CAUSES 5-year Report Image

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a program administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Over $63.2 million in SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. States and territories based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value.

Universities and organizations designated as non-profit, tribal, public sector and for-profit may apply with research, outreach, or production based programs that in some way, increase the competitiveness of specialty crops. All eligible organizations must provide a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS number) at the time of the award. UDC staff and faculty (land-grant and full-time faculty) may also apply under their UDC affiliation. All projects must promote specialty crops and not seek profit for an individual product or brand. These applications exclude projects focused on commodity crops, such as soybean/corn/rice. It includes most other vegetable/fruit/horticultural crops (including mushrooms, turfgrass, and ornamental crops). A complete list of eligible and ineligible specialty crops can be found on the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant website: Eligibility and restrictions for funding and organizations are outlined in the RFP linked below.

UDC has approximately $200,000 to award to outstanding projects that benefit DC residents. Approved grantees will be expected to hold a once yearly community participation day highlighting their funded project, which will double as the annual site visit for UDC. Generally, projects that are accepted are between $10,000 and $50,000 across 2 years (start date, Feb 1, 2018). Between four to five projects are awarded each year. The due date for turning in applications is midnight, May 17, 2017. Applications should follow the application template closely and be mailed in Microsoft Word format (with additional supporting documents in PDF or Word) to Lorraine Clarke ( and William Hare (

2017 Requests for Proposals

2017 Request for Applications

2017 Request for Applications – En Español

Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education

Grant Programs
2015 Research Farm Annual Report [Download PDF]
2014 Research Farm Annual Report [Download PDF]

Center for Sustainable Development

UDC Farmers Market Economic Contribution [Download PDF]
Urban Food Production Workshop Summary [Download PDF]

Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health

Research and Experiential Learning [Download PDF]

Architectural Research Institute

2015 Annual Report [Download PDF]
2013 Annual Report [Download PDF]
2012 Annual Report [Download PDF]
2011 Annual Report [Download PDF]

Center for 4-H and Youth Development

2013 Research [Download PDF]

WRRI Research

CAUSES Academic Research and Experiential Learning

The Community is our Classroom

Formed in 2011, the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) embodies the landgrant mission of the University of the District of Columbia. Consistent with its landgrant mission, CAUSES offers academic programs in architecture, nutrition and dietetics, nursing, health education, Water Resources Management and Urban Sustainability; and research based community outreach, workforce development and capacity building programs that serve the DC metro region. Landgrant universities receive their programmatic focus through the farm bill. The 2014 farm bill focuses on food security, food and water safety, combatting childhood obesity, mitigating climate change, and alternative energy. The location of UDC in the nation’s capital gives CAUSES is unique urban landgrant mission with its commitment to Urban Sustainability, Urban Health, and Urban Agriculture.

To ensure the relevant of the landgrant mission to the District of Columbia, CAUSES created five landgrant centers that combine relevant research and community outreach/ education. The centers are well aligned with the District’s Sustainable Development and Pathways to the Middle Class goals. They are: (1) Center for Urban Agriculture, (2) Center for Sustainable Development which includes the Water Resources Research Institute, (3) Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health which includes the Institute of Gerontology, (4) Center for 4H & Youth Development, and (5) Architecture Research Institute.

The dual mission of academic and community based capacity building position CAUSES exceptionally well to meet the experiential learning objectives of UDC, whereby the five centers can serve as effective experiential learning centers for UDC students. The landgrant centers offer diverse services including nutrition education in schools, food safety certifications, green business development workshops, assistance with farmers markets and community gardens, and soil and water quality testing services. UDC students can gain marketable skills through hands-on training, interaction with residents and community organizations, collaborative student and faculty research, leadership development, and networking experiences.

CAUSES faculty and staff established the CAUSES mission and vision in the fall of 2012; in 2013 CAUSES faculty adopted college wide learning objectives for all CAUSES students regardless of their chosen major (see Appendix

The College wide Learning Goals state:

CAUSES graduates are exceptionally well prepared to succeed in their chosen field of study. Our graduates stand out by having distinctive attributes and competencies. CAUSES graduates are:

  1. Global citizens committed to local relevance
  2. Adept at solving urban problems
  3. Committed to health & wellness and food & water security
  4. Skilled at navigating diverse social, cultural, built and natural environments
  5. Independent thinkers and collaborative team players; and
  6. Adaptive lifelong learners

Also in 2013 CAUSES faculty and landgrant program specialists held a joint retreat that further refine the CAUSES learning objectives by developing an explicit learning-by-doing focus across the college (see Appendix 2). Several of the academic programs in CAUSES require clinical and/or professional training and internships to prepare students for success in their chosen field of practice, CAUSES seeks to embed the learning-by-doing model across the entire spectrum of academic programs and in courses that do not have clinical training relevance.

Experiential Learning Strategies

There are three key strategies through which Experiential Learning comes to life in CAUSES: (1) internships, (2) embedded service learning experiences, and (3) applied research.
CAUSES offers five undergraduate and three graduate academic programs. They are:

Undergraduate Programs: Graduate Programs:
Architecture Architecture
Health Education Nutrition and Dietetics
Nutrition and Dietetics Nursing (RN to BSN)
Environmental Sciences (terminated, and in the teach-out phase) Water Resource Management

The college also contributes to the General Education Program of the University, and particularly to the Discovery Science and Frontier Capstone course offerings. These general education courses stress Urban Sustainability and Sustainability Literacy and are taught by both faculty and landgrant specialists.
Figure 1 summarizes the three experiential learning strategies and their contributions to the undergraduate and graduate programs in CAUSES.  Each course or program ties specific learning outcomes to the experiential learning strategies offered. Course Syllabi and program Standards provide evidence of the specific learning outcomes objectives associated with the experiential learning components of the courses or program.

Figure 1: CAUSES embedded experiential learning model AY 2014 and 2015

RN to BS in Nursing

The RN to BSN program in nursing focuses on practicing nurses who have received a clinically focused baseline nursing education within an associate degree program, and who have obtained licensure as Registered Nurses. LEARN MORE

Nutrition and Dietetics

The program offers a comprehensive evidence-based curriculum that places students in a variety of practical experiences in the community. Learning objectives include cultural competence, problem solving, effectiveness and teamwork.  LEARN MORE

Urban Architecture and Community Planning

In their third and fourth year architecture studio courses, students are required to work with actual clients on projects that can be located on or off campus. The purpose of these studios is to provide the architecture students with the skill needed to work in an architecture firm upon graduation. LEARN MORE

Health Education

Students in Health Education are required to have a practicum experience before graduation. The practicum places students in off-campus learning experiences to observe, assist and participate in health programs under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia Public Health Commission, and other sanctioned public health agencies. LEARN MORE


The interdisciplinary and practically oriented graduate program includes an internship in employer workplaces in the public, private and non-profit sector. The mission of the PSM degree program is to prepare graduates not only in the theoretical knowledge of hydrological science, but also in effective science communication, problem solving skills, entrepreneurship, and technical innovation in order to address the global challenges of food and water security, water management and urban sustainability. LEARN MORE