Lethbridge College has recently reformed its agriculture sciences program with the goal that graduates will leave the program better prepared for supporting the agriculture industry.
After a common first year, students will have the basics down in areas such as botany, animal science, commodity marketing, soils, sustainable agriculture, and communications. The new format for the program gives students more flexibility by allowing them to choose their major after acquiring a stronger knowledge base in the common first year, says a press release. Students can also gain an additional diploma with an extra year of study in a different major.
“Many students begin college unsure what area they would like to specialize in, or which area of agriculture they might find opportunity in,” says Dr. Terry Kowalchuk, dean of the Centre for Technology, Environment, and Design. “This common first year allows students a full year of flexibility to make that choice without losing any course credit or spending extra money on tuition before switching majors. Each of these majors is tailored to meet the needs of careers in those specific fields.”
Through the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, students can also get involved in a variety of research opportunities. A new 10,000 square foot greenhouse, a new memorandum of understanding with Farming Smarter, and recent funding for the creation of the Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre all result from the college’s long-standing relationships with Alberta Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.
“Our industry advisory members meet with us regularly to help us update curriculum and direct our programming to meet the changing needs of industry,” says Byrne Cook, chair of the School of Agriculture. “We have considerable connections with local industry partners, many operated by Lethbridge College alumni, which directly contribute to the education of our students. During their studies, our students will have contact with over 30 different industry partners through tours, demonstrations and guest lectures, all of whom are excited to help us train future employees.”
Research completed helps keep the college up to date on changes in agriculture and attracts specialized researchers, additional funds for equipment and more research, as well as research conferences and events right on campus.
The agriculture sciences program has a nearly 100 per cent job placement rate following graduation.