Janet McAllister
Professional Development Program Associate

University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Rd., Unit 4067
Department of Plant Science
Storrs, Connecticut 06269

Phone: (860) 486-1950
Fax: (860) 486-0682
Email: janet.mcallister@uconn.edu


BS Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University, 1981
MA Education, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Connecticut, 2009


Janet McAllister coordinates the professional development grant program for the USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program in the Northeast region (Northeast SARE). This program funds train-the-trainer projects that teach agricultural service providers such as Cooperative Extension, state department of agriculture personnel, crop consultants, veterinarians, farm advisors with private businesses, and nonprofit organizations about sustainable practices and approaches so that they, in turn, can educate farmers. In addition to regional competitive grant offerings, the Northeast SARE professional development program supports state coordinators at sixteen land-grant colleges and universities across the region who deliver sustainable agriculture train-the-trainer education shaped by local needs.

Janet provides professional development training workshops for state coordinators in areas of best practices for adult learning, needs assessment, project design and development, and evaluation and effective reporting. She provides guidance and advice to all professional development grantees on similar topics both in the pre-award and active phases of grant projects. Other responsibilities include organization and oversight of review panels, preparation of grant program applications and guidance materials, and administrative oversight of active projects.

Interest Areas

Janet McAllister guides educators of adults to greater comprehension and fuller application of best practices for adult learning based on neuro-cognitive processes. Understanding how the brain learns and implementing a brain-based approach to adult learning can bring dramatic improvements in learner and instructor satisfaction and learning outcomes. Dr. Sandy Bell, from UConn’s NEAG School of Education Adult Learning Section is a frequent collaborator with Janet on adult learning projects.

Northeast SARE programs, and also most current Extension programs, operate in an outcome-driven framework, where success is measured by changes in knowledge, skills and behaviors among participants. Project evaluation methods and tools, and outcome-based project development approaches that integrate evaluative processes throughout a project are other areas of interest and focus for Janet.

Recent Publications and Presentations

Bell, A. and McAllister, J. 2013. Sustainable Agriculture through Sustainable Learning: Improving educational outcomes with best practices for adult learning. Northeast SARE. PDF link: http://www.nesare.org/Dig-Deeper/Pictures-Stories-and-Video/Sustainable-Agriculture-through-Sustainable-Learning-Improving-educational-outcomes-with-best-practices-for-adult-learning

Bell, A. and McAllister, J. 2015. It’s what’s inside that counts: A brain-based model of best practices in Extension education. 22nd Europe Seminar on Extension and Educations, Wangeningen, NL.

McAllister, J., White, C., Mallory, E., Morris, T. and Wilner, S. 2015. Reading the Farm: A model for professional development training in sustainable agriculture.  22nd Europe Seminar on Extension and Educations, Wangeningen, NL.

McAllister, J., White, C., Mallory, E., Morris, T. and Wilner, S. 2015. Reading the Farm: Training agricultural professionals in whole-farm analysis. Northeast SARE. PDF link: http://www.nesare.org/Dig-Deeper/Useful-resources/Courses-and-Curricula/Reading-the-Farm