Ag returns to IVCC: New instructor works to promote program in community

Martha Hoffman and Bethany Black

Due to IVCC’s prime location in the heart of Illinois agriculture, IVCC’s revitalized agriculture program is growing and expanding to meet the demands of the industry.

The program opened in Fall 2016, with an enrollment of nine students, which has grown to 14 in the spring semester. An associate transfer degree in agriculture is being developed, along with certificates to lead directly to careers.

“It’s good for me,” said Ethan Kunkel, an IVCC agriculture student talking about the value of the Ag program, “Otherwise I’d have to go somewhere else. I need these classes to transfer to [the University of Illinois].”

Student recruitment is important. “We are advertising at local high schools through their agriculture and guidance departments,” said Willard Mott, IVCC agriculture professor.

“We will be hosting an Agriculture Open House for prospective students on Thursday, April 6 from 7:45-11 am. We are utilizing college fairs and career days to recruit and inform the community of our program,” he continued.

Mott also said he is making visits to high schools and utilizing social media for recruitment.

“We are trying to utilize every resource available to promote our program,” Mott said.
As enrollment in the program is growing, it becomes increasingly important for the curriculum to be created and finalized.

“Program development is hard and takes time; it is important to take the right steps forward, stay focused and learn along the way,” said Mott,

“There are many components involved in program development and it is like a big spider web where you have lots of things attached to a focal point. A program is more than just a list of classes.” he said.

After researching the curriculum of top agriculture community colleges and universities across Illinois, IVCC was able to develop a program that incorporates aspects from these model programs, as well as inclusion of future industry and agriculture needs.

Currently, the course Introduction to Agricultural Economics is being offered. Introduction to Agricultural Mechanics, Introduction to Soil Science, Introduction to Field Crop Science, Introduction to Agricultural Industry, and Introduction to Agricultural Business Management will be offered in Fall 2017.

“We feel we have developed a program with a balance of foundation and innovation to provide students with both a good foundation and a competitive edge,” said Mott.

Working with ICCB and state universities, transfer coordinator Aseret Loveland, and others at IVCC have worked hard to ensure the program’s courses are transferable.

Mott is excited to see what the future has in store for the program. “We have well defined goals which will guide us along the way. We are going in the right direction.”

For more information on the agriculture program, contact Willard Mott at [email protected].