October 08, 2004

Agricultural program earns recognition

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - Southern Illinois University Carbondale's agricultural systems technology specialization, offered by the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been recognized by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

Recognition, good for six years, means the program meets certain minimum standards regarding the program of study, the faculty, teaching and learning facilities, and administrative support. The society, an international educational and scientific organization whose 9,000 members work in agriculture, biology and food-related industries, has offered such recognition since 1988. Thirty-five U.S. programs have achieved this status.

W. David Shoup, who shepherded SIUC's application through the society's review process, believes a recent curriculum upgrade played a key role in winning recognition.

"We went through the ASAE standards line by line to see what we needed to do to meet those standards," he said.

Shoup also cited the addition of faculty members with industrial experience, all-out team effort and a strong commitment to computing technology as important factors in achieving recognized status.

While SIUC's graduates with ag tech training have traditionally done well - - Shoup said job placement runs to about 75 percent and starting salaries fall within the top 10 percent of those achieved in the college - - recognition will give them that extra "pop."

"We now have a 21st-century curriculum for a 21st-century degree," he said. "It will give the students a much stronger foothold in the job market."

Students who would like more information on studying agricultural systems technology at SIUC may visithttp://www.siu.edu/%7eplss/agsy.htm, or e-mail Shoup at dshoup@siu.edu.