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Chesapeake College will offer 2-year ag degree
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
WYE MILLS, Md. (Oct. 27, 2015) — Chesapeake College has unveiled plans to offer a two-year curriculum in agriculture.
It will be the first community college in Maryland to offer a major in agriculture.
Graduates will earn an AFT degree, Associate in Applied Science. Classes are expected to begin in the fall of 2016,
Those are the bottom lines, so to speak, of a notion birthed from an awareness by college officials of the rural character of the community they serve and given a fast track about a year ago.
Officials of Chesapeake College, which is perched virtually in the heart of five counties of the so-called Mid-Shore, decided to pay increased academic attention to the major, if not the ruling, occupation of its constituency.
Greg Farley, director of the Center for Leadership in Environmental Education at Chesapeake College and Lucie Hughes the college’s vice president for institutional advancement, who are shaping the structure and mission of the new department, noted that when the college reached out to its community for what skills the college needed to educationally hone, agriculture topped the list. There are figures to back that up.
According to Farley, in the five counties from which the college draws its major enrollment – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot — there are a total of 691,615 acres of farmland under till.
That represents 34 percent of Maryland’s entire working farm acreage.
Farley and Hughes noted that there will not be a formal ag department established at the college. Instead the program will be housed in the Division of Career and Professional Studies, alongside the Landscape Management and Landscape Design degrees.
Hughes said the program – for which 11 new courses will be established – will offer a practical grounding in the various hands-on aspects of agriculture including crop science, animal science, pest management and marketing.
The college campus encompasses 65 acres, most of it leased and in farm production. Farley said he would seek permission to obtain five acres for ag studies, mentioning greenhouse production and horticulture.
The new ag program – which, by the way, will offer internships but will not be transferable – still needs approval of the entire faculty and the Maryland Department of Higher Ediucation.
Both Farley and Hughes agreed that disapproval, at this stage, is highly unlikely.