CWU Trustees Meeting Agenda | May 2024

Proposal for the Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness

Introduction: Central Washington University (CWU) is proposing a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness program to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in the food and agriculture industries. This program aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of economic, management, and marketing principles as they apply to food and agricultural systems. Additionally, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage transformative innovations that can help build sustainable, equitable, and inclusive agri-food systems. Enhancement of Curriculum: The proposed Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness program builds on the success of the Agribusiness minors currently offered at CWU. These minors have been developed based on insights from the agribusiness community in Washington State, ensuring that the curriculum remains relevant and current. By maintaining strong relationships with industry representatives and legislators, the program will continue to evolve to meet workforce and education needs in the food and agriculture industries. The program will offer student-industry collaboration projects, professional development opportunities, and a mix of academic and industry instruction to enhance the curriculum and prepare students for successful careers in the food and agriculture sectors. High-impact practices such as collaborative assignments and team projects will benefit students and the agribusiness community, contributing positively to the surrounding communities. Addressing Specific Needs: The proposed Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness program addresses several needs that are not currently being met by other programs. It will be the first agribusiness-related degree offered by an AACSB-accredited business school in Washington State, providing students with excellent business education and enhancing their career prospects. The program's stackable credits option allows students to leverage prior coursework and agribusiness minors towards a second major/degree, providing them with a competitive edge on the job market. Furthermore, the program's online delivery option broadens the potential student audience and potentially increases enrollments. This flexibility accommodates individuals from disadvantaged populations, such as low-income populations or immigrants, who may not be able to commit to traditional on-campus programs. By providing access to higher education and career opportunities, the program contributes to closing equity gaps and improving the well-being of individuals and communities. Documented Demand: Market research conducted over the past five years demonstrates strong employer demand for agribusiness professionals, both regionally and nationally. Job postings for bachelor's and master's-level agribusiness professionals have increased significantly, indicating robust demand for program graduates. Additionally, student surveys and focus groups have shown a high level of interest in an agribusiness program among current and prospective students, particularly those with agricultural backgrounds or interests.

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