AgLink E-News: From the Department Head

Dr. David Lambert

by David Lambert

Welcome to the Class of 2015! The Department of Agricultural Economics is welcoming its largest incoming class of undergraduates in recent times.  Although exact numbers won’t be known until after the dust settles, around 120 new students will be entering our program this fall.  Approximately 380 undergraduate students have selected Agricultural Economics or Agribusiness as their majors.  We have had to split our freshman orientation class, AGEC 150, into two sections to accommodate our new majors.  Growth is stretching our resources, but it is a good problem to have!

Program quality and career opportunities available to our graduates fuel the surge in demand.  We strive to provide individual attention both in and outside of the classroom.  We challenge our students with rigorous courses, grounded in real-world applications from farming, agribusiness, and public decision making.  Consistent with President Schulz’s Vision 2025, we will continue and expand the engagement of our students in research and private industry opportunities.  Students are challenged by the research activities of our instructors.  We are providing more opportunities for students to become involved in these research projects.

New instructors and courses are being added to our undergraduate programs.  Nathan Hendricks has just returned to Kansas from completing his Ph.D. at the University of California at Davis.  He is already in the classroom, teaching our newest course (AGEC 315) covering issues important to global agriculture and food production.  This spring, Alex Shanoyan will join the agribusiness faculty. He will teach our capstone course in agribusiness, AGEC 599.  Because so many of our M.S. students wish to pursue careers in agribusiness, Alex will revitalize AGEC 890, a graduate level class on agribusiness management and strategy.

Students will benefit from the agricultural finance background of the new Director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center, Brian Briggeman, this spring as he teaches Agricultural Finance (AGEC 513).  One other new instructor, Keith Harris, will bring his 20 years of corporate experience to the classroom after he completes his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri in January.

We are fortunate to be adding new firepower to our current group of excellent teachers and researchers.  We welcome tomorrow’s leaders to the program.  They will have major impacts far into the future in agriculture, agribusiness, resource management, or any fields they choose to pursue.

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