Written by Stephanie Rodriguez. Media by Riley Hannula.
In the 2016-2017 school year, Greenville College will offer students a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness. This three to four-year program is great for incoming freshman and transfer students, but also for current students that would like to add this as their second major; several classes crossover, specifically from the Management major.
Founding Dean of the Briner School of Business and Chief Legal Officer, Suzanne Davis along with other faculty members focused on researching what employers are seeking from college graduates in this area of study, and she stated, “there’s a lot of different ways you can go with this kind of major.”
Around Southern Illinois, there aren’t higher education institutions that offer an agribusiness degree like the one Greenville College will offer. Greenville is keeping it broad and business-focused. While an agriculture degree requires a specific focus in science such as forestry, animal science or specialty crops, the agribusiness program will train students for the industry they want to go into. In addition, Greenville College sits five hours from major agribusiness companies and employability is highly accessible for students after they graduate.
Davis commented that there are about 17,500 and more members in the National Future Farmers of America Organization, FFA, and in 2014, 72 percent of the graduating seniors moved to post-secondary education seeking degrees in agriculture. While marketing specifically to those prospective students, Greenville College also seeks to market to students that have an interest in agriculture and business but haven’t pursued it.
University of Illinois Chairman of Board of Trustees, Ed McMillan helped guide the Briner School of Business into a direction that is achievable for the institution and is a current local contact for them. While the Briner School of Business faculty were constructing the degree, they researched higher education schools, such as Western Illinois University, to construct their own unique degree.
The Agribusiness major consists of four business and four agriculture core classes with 12 electives in an area of interest – six to 10 of those needing to be upper division credits. Some of the science classes that can be taken are Environmental Science and Stewardship, Introduction to Agriculture Business Concepts, Plants and People and Taxonomy and Basic Ecology. It depends on what the student wants to focus on and what internships help them find their specialty.
Current students are also working on expanding the degree. CORE 401 group 15 is designing a class to meet the requisites for the major because they are in need of more courses that are hands-on.
Group member Darlene Wilson states, “our project is to create a Sustainable Agriculture course that will teach students various techniques of sustainability that can be implemented in agricultural businesses. We would also like to organize an area of land where the students would be able to apply what they have learned in class by growing and harvesting crops. We hope to have this course become a part of the new Agricultural business degree.”
If you have questions regarding the new degree or know anyone that is interested, contact Suzanne Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.