The Agricultural Studies Program's agricultural education program prepares students for licensure in secondary or middle school settings (5-12). Huntington University is one of only two higher education institutions in Indiana that offer four-year degrees in agriculture.
Although there are more than 150 high schools in Indiana offering agriculture, there is a shortage of agricultural instructors in the state and nationwide. As such, HU is uniquely positioned to train future agriculture teachers from a faith-based perspective in a small-college environment.
The agricultural education program includes courses already offered in agribusiness and education, while adding new courses in agriculture and agricultural instruction that provide the breadth of academic and practical experience needed. In addition to on-campus education, instruction includes hands-on vocational skills instruction through local education partnerships and field experience in agriculture through internships. The agricultural education program is the newest component of HU’s well-respected Educator Preparation Program. The HU education program has been continuously accredited by CAEP/NCATE for 22 years.
The agribusiness sector in Indiana is large and diverse, with agriculture having an estimated total annual economic impact of $38 billion, and providing nearly 190,000 jobs in the state (Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business). With the importance of agriculture in the state, there are more than 150 high schools offering agricultural education courses. There is a shortage of agriculture instructors for high schools. Huntington University already has an excellent education program and this new ag education program represents an opportunity to meet a need in the state by training future ag teachers.
In the most recent Purdue/USDA 5-year outlook of employment opportunities for graduates in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and the environment, there are projected to be 57,900 job openings annually for the next 5 years in those fields, with only 35,400 graduates trained for those jobs. For the combined education, communication, and governmental services sector, 7,200 job openings are expected each year, with only 55% of that number being filled by trained graduates. The authors of that study write, “Graduates will find excellent employment opportunities for agriscience teachers in high schools and middle schools. Graduates in agricultural education have skills that qualify them for a wide range of occupations. Because about one-third of the graduates chose occupations other than teaching, schools face an ongoing shortage of qualified high school and middle school teachers.”