North Carolina A&T Goes the Distance to Curb Shortage of Agricultural Education Teachers

Article excerpt

GREENSBORO, N.C.

In an effort to boost the number of North Carolina's agricultural education teachers, North Carolina A&T State University has introduced an online degree program to allow community-college graduates to attain a bachelor's degree in agricultural education.

The program, known as the 2 + 2 Online Studies in Agricultural Education, gets fully under way this fall semester, and is targeted toward people who hold associate's degrees in a landscaping, turf grass or a horticultural field from 10 North Catalina community colleges. The curriculum includes a 15-week student-teaching requirement, as well as general education requirements in English, biology, math and other subjects that can be satisfied at any community college or four-year university.

"In North Carolina, we have a shortage of teachers in all curriculums. The shortage in agricultural education is especially severe," says Dr. Antoine Alston, coordinator of the agricultural education program at North Carolina A&T.

The community colleges are a "vast pool of students for us," Alston explains, noting that 18 community colleges in North Carolina have associate's degree programs in turf grass management, horticulture and landscape design. The 10 community colleges participating in the 2 + 2 program are in the counties of Brunswick, Caldwell, Catawba, Forsyth, Johnston, Lenoir, Mayland, Sampson, Sandhills and Surry.

The collaboration between historically Black North Carolina A&T and the state's community colleges has evolved from efforts A&T made in establishing articulation agreements with the 18 schools. The agreements allow associate's degree graduates in horticultural technology, turf grass management and landscaping to transfer into the four-year counterpart program at A&T, according to Alston. …