Department named 'distinguished,' ranked second in nation
The department of agricultural leadership, education and communications at Texas A&M University has been named a "distinguished program" and ranked second in the nation among 82 universities offering similar degrees.
The department is part of Texas A&M's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
According to Robert Birkenholz and Jon Simonsen, authors of a study titled "Characteristics of Distinguished Programs of Agricultural Education," 10 agricultural education programs across the U.S. were "distinguished," and the Texas A&M department was ranked second among those programs. Their study was published in American Association for Agricultural Education Research Conference Proceedings.
The agricultural education program at the University of Florida was ranked first. Completing the top 10 in order were The Ohio State University, the University of Missouri, Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, North Carolina State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Arizona.
Birkenholz, an Ohio State professor, and his graduate student Simonsen, surveyed 82 agricultural education programs across the country. Administrators from each of these institutions were asked to rank the programs they held in "highest professional regard." According to the authors, "Respondents were also asked to identify characteristics or features that distinguished each program they identified."
University survey respondents consistently named 10 programs, including Texas A&M's, as the "most distinguished." Characteristics identified in these distinguished programs included exemplary graduate programs, faculty, research, leadership programs, an international emphasis and offering a wide range of programs. Texas A&M was particularly recognized for its scope of research, leadership programs and faculty.
"Being nationally ranked is quite an honor and reflects the long-term commitment of the faculty and staff to work hard for the right reasons, our students," said Dr. Jack Elliot, department head. "The faculty has worked diligently the past 10 years to modernize our curriculum, enhance our research capabilities and increase the quality of our graduate students."
The department has 900 undergraduates and 160 graduate students. It offers four bachelor's degrees, three master's degrees and two doctoral degrees. The department also has 33 faculty members in five areas: planning and needs assessment, learner-centered instructional design, delivery strategies, evaluation and accountability, and research and measurement tools. Departmental emphases includes agricultural communications and journalism; eLearning and professional development; Extension education, organizational and community leadership; teacher education; and international agricultural education.