Rosa M. Guedes, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Parkersburg, WV
West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVU-P) has initiated an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) and a Certificate program in Diversified Agriculture and both were approved in Fall 2012. We feel this program is important because fundamental changes have occurred among agriculture science students over the past six decades in the United States. Many students are not only dedicated to produce food but also are concerned with environmental issues including carbon footprints, pollution (water, air) and soil erosion, among others. Our program’s focus is on locally grown and sustainable food production, with an academic emphasis on plant and soil sciences using classroom, laboratory, and hands-on field experience coupled with a summer internship with a local grower. We seeks to reflect changes that have occurred in American society, demanding that agricultural professionals have communication, entrepreneurial skills and ethical behavior. Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics (College Algebra) are important parts but six credits (Entrepreneurship 200 and 206) from the Business Division are included. Basic science coursework may allow students to continue on a four-year degree program at a Land Grant University after completing 60-61 credits during a two-year AAS program and enter with junior status. Additional electives can be selected to satisfy other core requirements. Students work closely with an advisor so that specific baccalaureate program requirements are satisfied. It is anticipated that many of our AAS or Certificate graduates will opt to start their own small farm operation or sustainable food supply business. Our curriculum seeks to provide students with a broadly based education for the evolving professions in agricultural science. Our goal is to reach out to enthusiastic students with an idealist vision of a Twenty-first Century career in sustainable agriculture. WVU-P Diversified Agriculture will work closely with a simultaneously approved Culinary Arts program.