New ag-related degrees benefit students and meet industry needs

Input from industry, stakeholders key to building for future of CABNR

7/14/2011 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
Spring round-up at Gund Ranch Graduate student Sam Lossing in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources herds cattle as part of the annual spring round-up at the University’s Gund Ranch northeast of Austin, Nev.

New educational programs aimed at meeting the state’s changing needs for agriculture and rangeland are being implemented in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno for the coming fall semester.

The college’s new Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences will offer two new degrees, agricultural sciences and rangeland ecology and management. A revamped and renamed major, forest management and ecology, was part of the package recently approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents.

The new degrees were developed with significant input from industry, faculty and other stakeholders. Key elements of the department’s programs were retained, especially pre-veterinary education and teaching and research in livestock/range management, by combining faculty with other departments in the college.

“We’ve realigned departments to build new offerings for students, developed these two new majors and both strengthened and created new synergies between departments and the ag and rangeland community,” Ron Pardini, dean of CABNR, said. “We’ll look a little different than we did in 2010, and with strategic planning and targeting industry needs our students will be well trained to enter the job market where jobs will exist here in Nevada.”

CABNR will be leaner, more efficient and more focused after the budget-induced streamlining that spotlights the future. The new realignment will offer students a variety of course options in these two new degree programs that complement existing programs. The agricultural science degree has a strong scientific emphasis on modern technical aspects of ag production and ag business management.

“It’s designer curriculum for ag sciences students,” Pardini said. “They can organize their course work within several departments to fit their needs. We have a robust series of ag economics and business courses or they can emphasize science and production and get large animal experience in our vet program, which will help satisfy a shortage of large animal vets here in Nevada.”

Rangelands are central to the natural resources and environment of Nevada as well as to agriculture, especially since range livestock is the number one agricultural enterprise in the state, he said. The new rangeland ecology and management degree includes courses in departments such as Biology, Natural Resources, Speech Communications, Statistics and the new Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences.

Moving ahead, CABNR will now have three departments instead of five, consolidating course offerings and programs into the new Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology remain substantially in place.

“These changes – the outcome of a lot of hard work and leadership from department chairs, faculty, students and community stakeholders – keep us aligned with our land-grant mission and allow us to focus on the future of agriculture and natural resources for the Great Basin and the State of Nevada,” Pardini said. “We worked closely with ag and range stakeholders to see what they needed in our graduates, what would make them seek out our students – and we’ve tailored programs to those needs.”


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