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Agriculture school rejuvenated with new name, major

Courtesy of ACEL

The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will undergo a full makeover to better describe the department, beginning in Fall Semester 2012.

Within CFAES, the Department of Human and Community Resource Development has undergone significant a change, including a new name.

“By changing the name to Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership, I think we are able to present a more diverse and more accurate description of what programs are within the department,” said Ken Martin, interim chair of the department.

Work to change the Department of Human and Community Resource Development began in 2009, when a committee, chaired by Emily Rhoades, started creating the framework to modify and improve the department.

A proposal created by the committee was shared with all faculty and adopted on Aug. 28, 2010. With approval, the committee consulted with undergraduate leaders, graduate student leaders, and the alumni board about the change and even gathered letters of support.

After receiving approval from many university committees, the OSU Board of Trustees officially approved the name change on Dec. 9.

“The new name better reflects our undergraduate programs and the research that our faculty does,” said Marilyn Trefz, ACEL assistant to the chair. “It really lines us up better with other programs like ours across the state.”

But the new department name was only one of many changes the Board of Trustees approved in the December meeting. The trustees agreed to approve a new major, Agriscience Education and Community Leadership, which will replace the existing Agricultural and Extension Education major.

“I think (the degree programs and course offerings) are dynamic and I really think that they have been thoughtfully developed in a way that will allow our students to excel in these areas after graduating,” said associate dean of CFAES, Linda Martin. “I think we will have among the strongest programs in the nation.”

The idea of change is not a new concept to the department. ACEL was formally known as the Department of Agricultural Education until 1994 when the Rural Sociology program moved to the department.

In response to that addition, the department changed its name to HCRD. In 2009, when the Rural Sociology program moved again, the department responded by shifting its focus and creating the department of ACEL.

Ken Martin said the new department will soon propose an online Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Extension Education. ACEL is hoping to have the program approved for Fall Semester 2012, Ken Martin said.

“Were hopeful that this program will appeal to a lot of our extension program staff and office staff around the state who might only have a bachelor’s degree but want to get a master’s,” Ken Martin said.

Along with this new online degree program, the department is looking to add online courses to its curriculum and is in the process of searching for a new department chair.

“The faculty is doing an excellent job in reflecting and representing the quality educational experience that has been a tradition of this department,” Ken Martin said. “I think that builds a firm foundation for the further development of the department in the future.”

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