Perspectives Online

Agricultural Institute nets top ranking

The N.C. State University Agricultural Institute ranks first in the nation among four-year institutions that offer two-year associate degree programs in agriculture and related sciences, said an annual rankings report published this past summer by Community College Week.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education, Community College Week identified the top 100 associate degree programs among two-year and four-year colleges and universities in the country. The Agricultural Institute, in N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, climbed from No. 2 to secure the top spot in this year's ranking of four-year institutions.

The Institute also advanced from fourth to second in the overall ranking of both two-year and four-year institutions offering programs in agriculture and related sciences.

"These rankings clearly demonstrate the importance of the Agricultural Institute to the citizens of North Carolina and indicate that we are a national leader in agricultural technology education," said John Cornwell, director of the Agricultural Institute. "Our program is distinctive because it offers a number of diverse majors, giving students a wide variety of opportunities to study agriculture."

The Institute offers 10 academic programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree, ranging from agribusiness management to landscape technology. Its programs are designed to prepare students for careers in agriculture and related industries, with a focus on hands-on technical training. With nearly 400 students, the Institute is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.

"Typically, 95 percent of our graduates are employed in their fields of interest within six months of graduation," Cornwell said. "Students emerge from the Institute not only with advanced technical skills, but also with business and communication skills that employers are looking for."

Community College Week bases its rankings on the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, including the number of degrees and other formal awards conferred in academic, vocational and continuing professional education programs in a variety of categories.

Degree programs in the category of agriculture and related sciences include turfgrass management, ornamentals and landscape technology, agribusiness management, livestock and poultry management, field crops technology, pest management and general agriculture.

- Suzanne Stanard