Penn State ag college trims three departments

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s board of trustees Nov. 11 approved a plan submitted by the College of Agricultural Sciences to restructure the college’s academic departments, reducing their number from 12 to nine.

The new structure will take effect July 1, 2012.

The reorganization is an adjustment to economic and social realities and needs, officials say.

“Our focus was to strengthen our academic programs while becoming a more agile organization that can respond quickly to emerging issues, trends and changing dynamics in the global food and fiber system,” said Bruce McPheron, dean of the college.

New departments

The new departments are:

• Agricultural and Biological Engineering, which will include faculty largely from the current department of the same name.

• Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, which will draw faculty from the current departments of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, and Agricultural and Extension Education.

• Animal Science, which will draw faculty from the current Poultry Science and Dairy and Animal Science departments.

• Ecosystem Science and Management, which will draw faculty from the current Crop and Soil Sciences Department and School of Forest Resources.

• Entomology will include faculty largely from the current department of the same name.

• Food Science will include faculty largely from the current department of the same name.

• Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology will include faculty largely from the current Plant Pathology Department.

• Plant Science will draw faculty from the current Horticulture and Crop and Soil Sciences departments.

• Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences will include faculty largely from the current department of the same name.

New degrees in making?

“A new academic structure over time almost certainly will result in new undergraduate and graduate degree programs,” McPheron said. “Some low-enrollment programs may be phased out, and others may be merged to strengthen them and provide wider opportunities and more options within those majors.”

McPheron said students currently enrolled in the college’s 19 majors will be able to complete their programs without interruption.

Any proposed new programs must be endorsed by the faculty senate and approved by the trustees.

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