UD gets rid of agricultural education major

By Amy Cherry 10:21am, October 3, 2013 - Updated 10:35am, October 4, 2013
The University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Photo Credit: UD CANR Facebook)
The University of Delaware gets rid of one of its less popular majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has the story.

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The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is here to stay, but the agricultural education major is going away.

"This enrolls 11 students or about 1.5 percent of our student body," says Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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Rieger calls the decision to eliminate the major "strategic."

"We need to go ahead and make some changes in order to protect the other 17 majors that we're trying to maintain quality," says Rieger.

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He says the decision, at this point, wasn't financial.

"We're not at the fiscal cliff, (but) we will be if we continue to operate programs with very few students in them," Rieger says.

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Freshman Keith Medwid is one of the last students who will be able to graduate with an agricultural education degree from UD. He's both heartbroken and disappointed.

"When we heard that they were going to end it, when it was closing down, we were flabbergasted. We were so surprised that they made this decision," Medwid says.

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Rieger also wanted to dispel some common misconceptions that are out there -- the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is not shutting down and students wishing to become high school agriculture teachers will have other pathways.

"I don't want them to think that they've chosen the wrong field. They haven't. There are plenty of jobs in that field. They will have one or two job offers at graduation, so they shouldn't feel bad about that," says Rieger.

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Medwid hopes other schools don't follow suit.

"Other schools might follow along in this, if they're getting low admission rates of the students for this major, then they might think the same, then we could have a large problem across the nation," he says.

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All students currently enrolled in UD's agricultural education major will get their degrees.

"We are 100 percent committed to having those students finish their program," says Rieger.

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