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Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile (1995)

Chapter: 3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates

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Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

3
THE COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates

This chapter introduces the first of the land grant colleges' functions, that of academic instruction. It draws on data collected, compiled, and maintained by the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS), which is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and managed by Texas A&M University, to report trends in student enrollment and graduates, student demographics, and the types of agriculture-related degrees of most interest to students at different stages of training. This chapter also utilizes the results of a survey of Ph.D. scientists, conducted by the National Research Council's Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel, to compare employment and demographic characteristics of agricultural scientists to those of all other scientists.

  • When the Morrill Act of 1862 was enacted, the framers undoubtedly intended that a teacher would be hired by the college to teach practical skills in farming and the mechanical arts. In keeping with the tradition of the European educational system, that would mean hiring a "professor of agriculture"—someone with extensive, broad-based knowledge of the subject—to lead a cadre of support staff to help carry out the teaching function. Although this model had worked well in such fields as theology, philosophy, law, medicine, and the classics, it did not fit the needs of U.S. agriculture. The simplest reason for why it did not is that the expertise needed for animal-based agriculture is very different than the expertise needed for plant-based agriculture.

  • In 1862 there were virtually no persons trained either in agriculture or in the sciences relating to agriculture; and so the colleges, often by trial and error, had to develop their own faculty members, sometimes by recruiting highly skilled farmers. Although these farmers had expertise in animal or crop production, they did not have the requisite expertise in both. Consequently, from the outset, land grant colleges began to move from the generalist in agriculture to the specialist in agriculture. With this move came the need for more involvement from more people.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
  • By the end of the 19th century most colleges of agriculture already had several departments in their administrative structure. In the 20th century the degree of specialization, and the number of specialists, increased exponentially as the knowledge base expanded (in large part as the result of the Hatch Act, which established a research function in the agricultural experiment station). It became necessary to teach increasingly specialized courses not only to undergraduate students, but most particularly to the graduate students who would soon be in a position to make practical use of this new knowledge base both in the field and as teachers and researchers. Consequently, there was an explosion of curricula, majors, and options—and people—with a high degree of specialization (see box copy, p. 36).

  • The trend toward increasing specialization, with its consequent increase in organizational structuring to accommodate curricula, majors, and options, continued until recently when it was recognized that issues facing society are exceedingly complex and require interdisciplinary teams to work on solutions. That realization is causing reorganization within many colleges of agriculture and the creation of interdisciplinary programs, centers, and institutes. Examples of this are degree programs in environmental sciences, centers for sustainable agriculture, and centers for biotechnology. These centers can exist as hard-wall entities (where faculty is brought together in one building), but many are instituted as soft-wall centers (where faculty is disbursed in various academic departments but come together for programmatic needs). Integration of such disciplines as animal science, horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, natural resources, agricultural economics, and rural sociology, among others, may play an important role in the future of U.S. agriculture and of the land grant system.

  • Higher education in agriculture, food, and natural resource sciences is supported by USDA grants. The major education grants administered by the USDA Office of Higher Education include: the higher education challenge grants program ($4 million in 1995); the higher education multicultural scholars program ($1 million in 1995); the 1890 institution capacity building grants program (about $9 million in 1995); and the USDA food and agricultural sciences national needs graduate fellowship grants program ($3.5 million in 1995) (National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 1995).

Land grant colleges of agriculture account for about 1 percent of all students enrolled at public institutions of higher education, but for higher percentages at land grant universities.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

Academic Specializations in Agriculture, Forestry, and Renewable Natural Resources

General Agriculture

Agricultural sciences, general

Agricultural sciences, other

Animal Sciences

Animal sciences, general

Animal breeding and genetics

Animal health

Animal nutrition

Animal physiology

Dairy science

Livestock

Poultry sciences

Pre-veterinary medicine

Veterinary medicine

Embryology

Endocrinology

Animal pathology

Animal pharmacology

Animal sciences, other

Plant Sciences

Plant sciences, general

Agronomy

Horticulture science

Ornamental horticulture

Plant breeding and genetics

Plant pathology (applied)

Plant physiology

Plant protection (integrated pest management)

Turf management science

Landscape architecture

Plant pharmacology

Plant sciences, other

Soil Sciences

Soil sciences, general

Soil chemistry

Soil conservation

Soil management and fertility

Soil microbiology

Soil physics

Soil sciences, other

Agricultural Business and Management

Agricultural business and management, general

Agricultural business

Agricultural economics

Farm and ranch management

Agricultural business and

management, other

Education, Communication, and Social Sciences

International agriculture, general

Rural sociology, general

Agricultural communications/journalism, general

Extension education

Education, communication,

social sciences, other

Natural Resources

Fisheries science

Range management

Renewable natural resources

conservation, general

Environmental science/studies

Natural resources management

and policy

Natural resources law enforcement

and protective services

Wildlife and wildlands

management

Parks, recreation, and leisure studies

Parks, recreation and leisure

facilities management

Water resources

Natural resources, other

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

Forest Sciences

 

Forest harvesting and production

Forest management

Forest products technology

Forest mensuration

Logging/timber harvesting

Urban forestry

Forestry, general

Wood science

Forest sciences

Pulp and paper technology

Forest biology

Forest soils

Forest engineering

Forest hydrology

Forestry and related sciences, other

Agricultural Engineering/Mechanization

Agricultural mechanics

Agricultural engineering

Agricultural mechanization

 

Food Science/Human Nutrition

Food sciences, general

Food technology

Dairy processing

Nutritional sciences

Food distribution

Food engineering

Food packaging

Food science/human nutrition, other

Related Biological/Physical Science

Biology, general

Biometrics and biostatistics

Biochemistry and biophysics

Parasitology

Botany

Entomology

Mycology

Climatology/meteorology

Microbiology/bacteriology

Biological/physical science, other.

 

SOURCE: Food and Agricultural Education Information System. 1994. Fall 1993 Enrollment in Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources and Forestry: A Combined Report. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University.

ENROLLMENT: LAND GRANT VERSUS NON-LAND GRANT

  • In the fall of 1991 there were approximately 10 million undergraduates and 1 million graduate students (both full and part time) enrolled in U.S. public institutions of higher education (U.S. Department of Education, 1993). Between 80 and 85 thousand of these undergraduates (<1 percent) and about 22 thousand graduate students (2 percent) were enrolled at land grant colleges of agriculture (Table 3-1).1

1  

To provide information representative of 100 percent response, extrapolation was accomplished by applying the percent change by major area and degree level observed in institutions reporting in both 1992 and 1993 to responses from institutions that did not respond in either year. This process requires response from each institution in at least one year.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-1

Fall Enrollment, by Degree Program, at Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture, 1984–1993

 

Year

Degree Program

1984

1986

1990

1992

1993

Associate's

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

3,170

3,757

3,929

3,633

3,451

Other

110

483

518

70

59

Subtotal

3,280

4,240

4,447

3,703

3,510

Bachelor's

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

71,241

63,232

66,390

71,706

78,192

Other

10,161

8,730

9,882

9,398

6,513

Subtotal

81,402

71,961

76,272

81,104

84,706

Master's

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

12,831

13,002

10,873

11,082

11,751

Other

732

755

712

765

592

Subtotal

13,563

13,758

11,585

11,847

12,343

Doctorate

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

9,197

9,412

9,990

9,753

10,032

Other

254

39

108

205

159

Subtotal

9,451

9,451

10,098

9,957

10,190

NOTE: To provide information representative of 100 percent response, extrapolation is based on applying the percent change by major area and degree level observed in institutions reporting in both 1992 and 1993 to responses from institutions that did not respond in either year. This process requires response from each institution in at least 1 year. Agricultural programs include natural resources, and forestry sciences; "other" includes any nonagricultural program such as chemistry, geography, geology, home economics, psychology, sociology, statistics, etc.

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

  • In contrast to these aggregate data, at many land grant universities enrollment in colleges of agriculture is a larger percentage of university-wide or campus-wide enrollment. For example, at the University of California, Davis—the most "agricultural" of the University of California campuses—in the early 1990s about 25 percent of campus enrollment was in the college of agriculture. At North Carolina State University, enrollment in the college of agriculture was about 13 percent of university-wide enrollment; at Mississippi State it was about 10 percent. At the University of Illinois and the Pennsylvania State University, college of agriculture enrollment was 6 to 7 percent of university enrollment (U.S. Department of Education, 1993).

  • As noted in Chapter 1, some non-land grant colleges and universities also have agriculture schools or colleges. In the fall of 1993, nationwide enrollment in all colleges of agriculture, renewable natural resources, and forestry comprised more than 137,000 students, 80 percent of whom were enrolled in the land grant colleges of agriculture (Food and Agricultural Education Information System, 1994; Table 3-1).

  • Although total enrollment at public colleges and universities increased steadily from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, land grant colleges of agriculture struggled to keep students (U.S. Department of Education, 1993). For example, enrollment in the colleges' bachelor's degree programs fell off sharply between 1984 and 1986 but recovered fully by 1992 (Table 3-1). Most colleges went on to report higher enrollment in 1993 than in 1992 (Table 3-2).

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-2 Fall Enrollment, by Region, at Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture, 1990 and 1992

 

Undergraduate

Graduate

University

1990

1992

1990

1992

North-Central

Southern Illinois State U.

700

788

98

104

U. of Illinois

1,815

1,897

595

629

Purdue U.

1,839

2,042

439

516

Iowa State U.

2,248

2,392

635

797

Kansas State U.

1,440

1,634

367

406

Michigan State U.

2,507

2,521

682

782

U. of Minnesota

747

1,253

507

517

U. of Missouri

1,648

1,846

417

411

Lincoln U.

NR

184

NR

0

North Dakota State U.

NR

738

NR

169

U. of Nebraska

1,139

1,344

478

366

The Ohio State U.

1,880

1,694

517

555

South Dakota State U.

1,077

1,440

190

212

U. of Wisconsin, Madison

1,889

2,025

1,227

1,256

Regional total

18,929

21,798

6,152

6,720

Northeastern

U. of Connecticut

421

550

144

161

U. of Delaware

627

605

61

105

Delaware State U.

64

82

0

0

U. of Massachusetts

1,872

2,192

408

428

U. of Maryland

830

795

267

251

U. of Maryland, Eastern Shore

92

147

18

12

U. of Maine, Orono

636

651

0

49

U. of New Hampshire

1,158

1,587

186

184

Rutgers—The State U. of New Jersey

2,862

2,908

560

604

Cornell U.

3,029

3,081

1,085

1,128

The Pennsylvania State U.

1,912

2,194

358

415

U. of Rhode Island

664

808

190

0

U. of Vermont

787

724

83

84

West Virginia U.

1,170

1,319

181

190

Regional total

16,124

17,643

3,541

3,611

Southern

Auburn U.

512

645

248

282

Alabama A&M U.

339

357

109

167

U. of Arkansas, Pine Bluff

340

196

0

1

U. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

795

868

285

270

U. of Florida

1,049

1,377

695

457

Florida A&M U.

NR

146

NR

21

U. of Georgia

913

1,031

241

247

U. of Guam

13

14

0

0

U. of Kentucky

745

890

276

259

Louisiana State U.

1,028

1,008

564

463

Southern U.

NR

287

NR

0

Mississippi State U.

1,070

1,104

313

354

Alcorn State U.

100

150

0

33

North Carolina State U.

2,677

3,034

707

742

North Carolina A&T U.

239

NR

61

NR

Oklahoma State U.

1,187

1,327

297

356

Langston U.

28

34

0

0

U. of Puerto Rico

552

577

76

97

Clemson U.

541

821

232

309

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

 

Undergraduate

Graduate

University

1990

1992

1990

1992

South Carolina State U.

83

94

6

17

U. of Tennessee

759

836

229

224

Tennessee State U.

NR

174

NR

17

Texas A&M U.

3,671

3,927

1,241

1,254

Texas Tech U.

1,151

1,155

157

151

Prairie View A&M U.

219

134

64

48

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State U.

1,199

1,465

466

461

Virginia State U.

278

162

0

0

U. of the Virgin Islands

72

0

NR

NR

Regional total

19,560

21,813

6,267

6,230

Western

U. of Alaska

66

78

27

25

U. of Arizona

1,694

1,644

509

479

Arizona State U.

208

422

36

67

U. of California, Berkeley

767

NR

342

NR

U. of California, Davis

5,279

5,026

1,309

1,098

U. of California, Riverside

1,104

NR

306

NR

Colorado State U.

760

1,000

192

190

U. of Hawaii

388

397

216

182

U. of Idaho

512

179

212

187

College of Micronesia

NR

7

NR

0

Montana State U.

600

535

110

111

U. of Nevada, Reno

295

332

78

61

New Mexico State U.

1,087

1,128

185

230

Oregon State U.

724

790

431

406

American Samoa Community College

NR

0

NR

0

Utah State U.

519

613

133

134

Washington State U.

1,078

1,365

335

282

U. of Wyoming

598

635

142

160

Regional total

15,679

14,151

4,563

3,612

Total

70,292

75,405

20,523

20,173

NOTE: NR, no response.

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

  • Enrollment in doctorate programs increased steadily over the same period (Table 3-1). Nonetheless, graduate student enrollment in agricultural sciences has been losing ground versus other areas of science. In 1981 graduate enrollment in agricultural sciences (not including agricultural economics or agricultural engineering) accounted for 4 percent of graduate enrollment in all sciences; by 1991 agricultural science's share had dropped to 3 percent. Graduate enrollment in agricultural engineering also declined as a percent of enrollment in all engineering during this same period (U.S. Department of Education, 1993).

  • USDA has divided the states according to four major geographic regions—northeastern, north-central, southern, and western (Figure 3-1). The largest percentages of land grant college of agriculture students are in the north-central region, the "farm belt," and in the southern region. Each of the four regions, however, contributes to total national enrollment at colleges of agriculture. In 1992 no region contributed less than 17 percent of either graduate or undergraduate students (Figure 3-2).

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

Enrollment at land grant colleges of agriculture is concentrated at a few large institutions.

  • In 1992, 39 percent of reported enrollment at the undergraduate level was concentrated in ten land grant colleges of agriculture (Table 3-3); four of these are in the northeastern region. More than 40 percent of graduate student enrollment was concentrated in a slightly different list of ten land grant colleges (Table 3-4). Overall, less than 15 percent of the schools enroll 40 percent of the land grant college of agriculture students.

  • In 1993 women composed 37.5 percent of undergraduates and 35 percent of graduate students in agricultural programs at land grant colleges of agriculture. In contrast, at all U.S. institutions of higher education, more than one-half of both undergraduate and graduate students are women (U.S. Department of Education, 1993). Women are significantly better represented in the agriculture colleges' "other" programs, which include principally home economics but also chemistry, geology, geography, psychology, sociology, statistics, etc. (Table 3-5).

FIGURE 3-1

The four geographic regions of the United States, as determined by USDA.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

Women and ethnic minorities constitute smaller percentages of enrollment at land grant colleges of agriculture than at all institutions of higher education.

  • Ethnic minorities—including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Native Americans—represent a small, though recently growing, percentage of land grant college of agriculture enrollment—about 10 percent in 1993 versus 5 percent in 1984 (Table 3-5). About 20 percent of ethnic minorities pursuing bachelor degrees attend the 1890 institutions (FAEIS, 1994). At all U.S. institutions of higher education, ethnic minorities account for slightly more than 20 percent of undergraduates and about 14 percent of graduate students (U.S. Department of Education, 1993).

  • Students who are not U.S. citizens make a significant contribution to enrollment at the colleges of agriculture, but mostly at the graduate level. In 1993 (the only year for which data is currently available) more than one-fourth of graduate students were citizens of other countries, suggesting that colleges of agriculture may contribute significantly to the development of the human capital of other nations (Table 3-5).

FIGURE 3-2

The regional breakdown of undergraduate enrollment at land grant colleges of agriculture in the fall of 1992 shows nearly 60 percent of undergraduate enrollment evenly distributed between the north-central and southern regions. At the graduate level, the north-central and southern regions share 64 percent of the total enrollment.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-3

The Ten Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Leading in Total College of Agriculture Undergraduate Enrollment, Fall 1992

 

Including Other Programs and Excluding Separately Administered Schools and Colleges of Forestry

Excluding Other Programs and Separately Administered Schools and Colleges of Forestry

Including Separately Administered Schools and Colleges of Forestry, Excluding Other Programs

University

Number

Percenta

Number

Percenta

Number

Percenta

U. California, Davis

5,026

7

3,552

5

3,552

5

Texas A&M U.

3,927

5

3,927

6

3,927

6

Cornell U.

3,081

4

3,081

5

3,081

4

North Carolina State U.

3,034

4

2,374

4

3,022

4

Rutgers—The State U. of New Jersey

2,908

4

1,555

2

1,555

2

Michigan State U.

2,521

3

2,141

3

2,141

3

Iowa State U.

2,392

3

2,392

4

2,392

3

Pennsylvania State U.

2,194

3

2,194

3

2,194

3

U. of Massachusetts

2,192

3

1,406

2

1,406

2

Purdue U.

2,042

3

2,042

3

 

 

Subtotal

29,317

39

24,664

37

25,312

36

Totalb

75,850

NA

66,452

NA

71,270

NA

NOTE: ''Other'' programs include any nonagricultural programs offered by the college of agriculture such as home economics, statistics, sociology, chemistry, geology, geography, psychology, etc.

a Percent of all undergraduate students at all reporting colleges of agriculture.

b Total of undergraduates at all reporting colleges of agriculture.

SOURCE: S. S. Whatley, Project Coordinator, Food and Agricultural Education Information System, 1994, personal communication.

TABLE 3-4

The Ten Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Leading in Total College of Agriculture Graduate Enrollment, Fall 1992

 

Including Other Programs and Excluding Separately Administered Schools and Colleges of Forestry

Excluding Other Programs and Separately Administered Schools and Colleges of Forestry

Including Separately Administered Schools amd Colleges of Forestry and Excluding Other Programs

University

Number

Percenta

Number

Percenta

Number

Percenta

U. of Wisconsin

1,256

6

1,242

7

1,242

6

Texas A&M U.

1,254

6

1,254

7

1,254

6

Cornell U.

1,128

6

1,128

6

1,128

5

U. of California, Davis

1,098

5

994

5

994

5

Iowa State U.

797

4

797

4

979

5

Michigan State U.

782

4

774

4

774

4

North Carolina State U.

742

4

742

4

922

4

U. of Illinois

557

3

557

3

557

3

Rutgers—The State U.

of New Jersey

604

3

392

2

392

3

The Ohio State U.

555

3

555

3

554

3

Subtotal

8,845

44

8,479

44

8,659

42

Totalb

20,173

NA

19,203

NA

20,745

NA

NOTE: "Other" programs include any nonagricultural programs offered by the college of agriculture such as home economics, statistics, sociology, chemistry, geology, geography, psychology, etc.

a Percent of all graduate students at all reporting colleges of agriculture.

b Total of graduate students at all reporting colleges of agriculture.

SOURCE: S. S. Whatley, Project Coordinator, Food and Agricultural Education Information System, 1994, personal communication.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-5

Fall Enrollment, by Degree Program, of Female, Ethnic Minority, and Foreign Students at Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture, 1984–1993

 

1984

 

1986

 

1990

 

Degree Program

Females

Ethnic Minorities

Females

Ethnic Minorities

Females

Ethnic Minorities

Bachelor's

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

22,836 (32.1)

2,683 (3.8)

22,144 (35.0)

2,684 (4.2)

24,491 (36.9)

4,195 (6.3)

Other

6,648 (65.4)

1,073 (10.6)

6,210 (71.1)

982 (71.1)

6,892 (69.7)

1,439 (14.6)

Subtotal

29,484 (36.2)

3,756 (4.6)

28,354 (39.4)

3,666 (5.1)

31,383 (41.1)

5,634 (7.4)

Graduate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

5,949 (27.0)

1,168 (5.3)

6,347 (28.3)

1,119 (5.0)

6,726 (32.2)

1,812 (8.7)

Other

45 (46.6)

40 (4.1)

413 (52.0)

44 (5.5)

470 (57.3)

127 (15.5)

Subtotal

6,408 (27.8)

1,208 (5.2)

6,760 (29.1)

1,163 (5.0)

7,196 (33.2)

1,939 (8.9)

NOTE: Number in parentheses is the percent of females and ethnic minorities compared with total student enrollment in each degree program. Total student enrollment figures are reported in Table 3-1. "Other" includes any nonagricultural program offered by the college of agriculture such as chemistry, geography, geology, home economics, psychology, sociology, statistics, etc.

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

TABLE 3-6

Graduates in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, from All Degree Programs, by Region and Institution Classification, 1992

Region

1862s

1890s

Non-Land Grants

All Institutions

North-central

6,325

16

1,106

7,447

Northeastern

5,071

27

521

5,619

Southern

5,565

432

1,728

7,725

Western

4,339

0

1,463

5,802

Total

21,300

475

4,818

26,593

 

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

  • Since the inception of colleges of agriculture, the science of agriculture has taken on a myriad of specializations. Although land grant universities—and principally their colleges of agriculture—grant most U.S. degrees in agriculture, food, and natural resources, non-land grant schools also grant a significant number of agriculture-related degrees, particularly in the southern and western regions (Table 3-6; Figure 3-3).

  • In 1992, of all students graduating from all degree programs in the food, agriculture, and natural resources disciplines, 73 percent received bachelor's degrees (Figure 3-3). Natural resources and agricultural business and management (especially agricultural economics) accounted for nearly 40 percent of all bachelor's degrees issued (Table 3-7). Bachelor's degrees in animal science were also popular, probably because of the higher demand for admission to veterinary medicine colleges. Non-land grant schools granted 21 percent of all the bachelor's degrees (Table 3-8).

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

 

1992

 

 

1993

 

 

Degree Program

Females

Ethnic Minorities

 

Females

Ethnic Minorities

Foreign Students

Bachelor's

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

26,809 (37.4)

5,462 (7.6)

 

29,351 (37.5)

8,350 (10.7)

1,095 (1.4)

Other

5,418 (57.7)

1,184 (12.6)

 

4,054 (62.2)

90 (13.8)

147 (2.3)

Subtotal

32,227 (39.7)

6,646 (8.2)

 

33,405 (39.4)

9,251 (10.9)

1,242 (1.5)

Graduate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural

7,166 (34.4)

1,792 (8.6)

 

7,653 (35.1)

2,069 (9.5)

5,669 (26.0)

Other

683 (70.4)

100 (10.3)

 

427 (56.9)

82 (10.9)

154 (20.5)

Subtotal

7,849 (36.0)

1,892  (8.7)

 

8,080 (35.9)

2,151  (9.5)

5.823 (25.8)

FIGURE 3-3

Of all degrees conferred in agriculture, food, and natural resources in 1992, non-land grants conferred slightly more than 18 percent and bachelor degrees accounted for nearly three-quarters.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-7

Number of Graduates in Various Agriculture Disciplines, by Degree Program, from All Institutions, 1992

 

Degree

Disciplinea

Associate's

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctorate

All Degree Programs

General agriculture

59

681

128

1

869

Animal sciences

183

2,653

443

230

3,509

Plant sciences

445

2,020

698

438

3,601

Soil sciences

12

116

102

76

306

Agricultural business and management

120

3,324

484

122

4,050

Social sciences

4

962

359

81

1,406

Natural resources

62

3,825

1,030

283

5,200

Agricultural engineering/mechanization

16

493

134

67

710

Food sciences

27

1,463

453

195

2,138

Related sciences

1

1,493

288

334

2,116

Other

43

2,399

216

33

2,691

Total

972

19,426

4,335

1,860

26,596

NOTE: "Other" includes any nonagricultural program offered by the college of agriculture such as chemistry, geography, geology, home economics, psychology, sociology, statistics, etc. "Natural resources" includes forest sciences.

a The relationship between the number of graduates and the number of practicing professionals in each academic specialization is unclear. For example, compared to the large membership of soil science societies, a relatively small number of graduates now receive soil science degrees, according to FAEIS. Reasons for the discrepancy may include changes in degree classification, participation by other agricultural scientists in soil science organizations, and the relatively higher popularity of soil science degrees in earlier years.

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

TABLE 3-8

Percent of Degrees in Various Agriculture Disciplines Conferred by Non-Land Grant Universities, by Degree Program, 1992

 

Degree Program

 

 

 

 

Discipline

Associate's

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctorate

All Degree Programs

General agriculture

7

39

71

0

42

Animal sciences

9

19

7

2

16

Plant sciences

4

20

8

2

14

Soil sciences

0

36

8

0

16

Agricultural business and management

1

28

7

3

24

Social sciences

0

25

10

2

20

Natural Resources

0

25

32

17

26

Agricultural engineering/mechanization

0

21

12

0

17

Food Sciences

22

13

2

0

9

Related sciences

0

1

1

0

1

Other

0

18

6

0

16

Total

5

21

14

4

18

NOTE: "Other" includes any nonagricultural program offered by the college of agriculture such as chemistry, geography, geology, home economics, psychology, sociology, statistics, etc. "Natural resources" includes forest sciences.

SOURCE: Data are from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS).

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

More than 80 percent of graduates in agriculture, food, and natural resources receive their degrees at land grant universities, but non-land grant schools are important in some fields.

  • Master's degrees in natural resources accounted for one-quarter of the master's degrees issued (Table 3-7). The high number of master's degrees in natural resources may be because a master's degree is now forestry's first-level professional degree. In 1992 non-land grant schools granted about one-third of the natural resource degrees at the master's level (Table 3-8).

  • Students in doctorate programs have a different orientation; they are most numerous in plant sciences and "related" sciences such as botany and entomology. Natural resources, animal sciences, and food sciences are the next most populated disciplines at the doctorate level (Table 3-7). Non-land grant schools conferred only a small share of these doctorate degrees; in other words, producing Ph.D. agricultural scientists is the domain of the land grant colleges (Table 3-8).

  • From all degree programs, less than 5 percent of all graduates in 1992 received degrees labeled "general agriculture" or soil science (Table 3-7). More than 40 percent of the "general agriculture" degrees (which are mostly undergraduate degrees) were issued by non-land grant institutions (Table 3-8).

  • There is some regional specialization in academic fields, particularly at the doctorate level. For example, doctorate degrees in food science are a higher percentage in the northeast than in other parts of the country; while more doctorate degrees in natural resources are conferred in the west (Figure 3-4). "Related science" degrees are most significant (as a percent of all degrees) in the northeast and least significant in the south (see Appendix Table 2).

  • Across the country, colleges of agriculture offer many of the same agricultural science or other agriculture-related degree programs. For example, in 1991-1992 in the land grant system, there were 92 bachelor's degree programs in animal science and 50 at the doctorate level (Table 3-9). In plant sciences in that same academic year, there were 129 undergraduate degree programs including 35 in agronomy and 38 in horticulture (Table 3-9).

  • There was a slight decline between 1985 and 1992 in the number of degree programs in most agricultural and renewable natural resource specializations offered at land grant colleges of agriculture, particularly at undergraduate and master's degree levels (Figures 3-5 through 3-7).

  • Using Table 3-9 to more closely examine specific areas of specialization, data indicate a decline in the number of programs in traditional agricultural specializations like dairy and poultry science. Some colleges offer general animal science degrees as well as more specific degrees in dairy or poultry science. In most cases, these more specialized programs are being incorporated into the more general programs. The two-period comparison in Table 3-9 also suggests that some expansion is occurring in basic science degree programs and some natural resource specializations like water resources and wildlife management.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

FIGURE 3-4

The graph provides a regional breakdown of doctorate degrees conferred by land grant and non-land grant institutions in agriculture, food, and natural resources specializations in 1992.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-9

Number of Degree Programs in Agricultural Science and Renewable Natural Resource Specializations at Land Grant Institutions, 1984–1985 and 1991–1992

 

Degree Program

 

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctorate

Specialization

1984–85

1991–92

1984–95

1991–92

1984–85

1991–92

Agricultural business and management

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural business/management, general

12

11

2

1

1

1

Agricultural business

16

16

2

1

0

0

Agricultural economics

49

45

48

47

26

27

Farm and ranch management

3

3

1

1

0

0

Agricultural business/management, other

5

2

1

1

0

0

Agricultural products/processing, general

0

1

1

2

1

2

Nonfood products

0

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural products/processing, other

0

1

0

0

0

0

Floristry farm and garden supp, gen other

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

90

84

63

60

31

36

Agricultural mechanics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural mechanics, general

17

15

4

3

0

0

Agricultural elect/power/controls

0

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural mech/const/maint skills

0

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural power machinery

0

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural structures/equipment/facilities

0

0

0

0

0

0

Soil and water mechanical practices

0

2

0

0

0

1

Agricultural mechanics, other

2

3

1

1

0

0

Total

19

20

5

4

0

1

Agricultural services and supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural services and supplies, general

1

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural services

0

1

0

0

0

0

Agricultural supplies marketing

0

0

0

0

0

0

Agricultural services and supplies, other

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

1

1

0

0

0

0

International agriculture

3

3

1

1

0

0

Agricultural sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural production, general

1

1

1

1

0

0

Agricultural production, other

0

0

0

1

0

0

Agricultural sciences, general

34

33

12

9

1

1

Total

35

34

13

11

1

1

Animal sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal production

1

0

1

1

0

0

Aquaculture

0

2

1

1

1

1

Animal sciences, general

56

57

48

45

28

31

Animal breeding and genetics

1

0

1

2

1

2

Animal health

1

2

2

2

1

1

Animal nutrition

1

0

3

1

2

2

Animal physiology

0

0

1

0

1

0

Dairy science

15

12

14

12

6

4

Fisheries science

4

0

3

0

3

0

Livestock science

0

0

0

0

0

0

Poultry science

15

13

15

7

8

6

Animal sciences, other

4

6

3

5

2

3

Animal technology

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

98

92

92

76

53

50

Food sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food products

1

2

0

0

0

0

Food sciences, general

27

33

26

31

19

25

Dairy processing

3

0

0

0

0

0

Food distribution

0

0

0

0

0

0

Food engineering

0

0

1

0

1

0

Food packaging

0

0

0

0

0

0

Food technology

5

0

2

0

2

0

Food sciences, other

2

0

2

0

2

0

Food processing technology

0

1

0

0

0

0

Total

38

36

31

31

24

25

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

 

Degree Program

 

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctorate

Specialization

1984–85

1991–92

1984–85

1991–92

1984–85

1991–92

Plant sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crop production

0

1

1

2

1

1

Horticulture, general

8

10

6

7

3

4

Arboriculture

0

0

0

0

0

0

Floriculture

0

5

0

3

0

1

Greenhouse operation and management

0

0

0

0

0

0

Landscaping

2

5

0

0

0

0

Nursery operation and management

0

0

0

0

0

0

Turf management

0

1

0

0

0

0

Horticulture, other

1

1

0

0

1

1

Plant sciences, general

16

13

11

8

5

9

Agronomy

36

35

35

34

31

30

Horticulture

29

28

28

27

17

19

Ornamental horticulture

18

0

16

0

9

0

Plant breeding and genetics

0

0

4

0

5

0

Plant pathology

5

0

6

0

5

0

Plant physiology

0

0

0

0

1

0

Plant protection (pest management)

8

6

9

7

1

2

Range management

12

12

10

9

7

6

Turf management science

0

0

0

0

0

0

Plant sciences, other

3

6

3

3

1

2

Plant genetics

2

1

2

3

2

3

Plant pathology

6

5

23

29

21

26

Plant physiology

1

0

4

4

5

7

Total

147

129

158

136

115

111

Soil sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soil sciences, general

23

22

19

27

14

18

Soil chemistry

0

0

1

0

0

0

Soil conservation

0

0

0

0

0

0

Soil management and fertility

0

0

2

0

2

0

Soil microbiology

0

0

0

0

1

0

Soil physics

0

0

0

0

1

0

Soil sciences, other

2

0

2

0

2

0

Total

25

22

24

27

20

18

Agricultural sciences, other

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agribusiness and production, other

9

7

4

2

1

1

Agricultural sciences, other

6

8

6

4

2

1

Total

15

15

10

6

3

2

Renewable natural resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable natural resources, general

25

21

17

15

6

6

Renewable natural resources, other

4

5

2

4

1

1

Total

29

26

19

19

7

7

Conservation and regulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conservation and regulation, general

1

3

0

0

0

0

Conservation

2

2

0

2

0

1

Resources protection and regulation

0

0

0

0

0

0

Conservation and regulation, other

1

1

0

0

0

0

Total

4

6

0

2

0

1

Fishing and fisheries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing and fisheries, general

3

10

3

9

2

5

Fisheries

7

0

5

0

1

0

Fishing and fisheries, other

1

0

1

0

1

0

Total

11

10

9

9

4

5

Forestry production and processing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forestry production and processing, general

4

4

3

3

4

4

Forest production

0

0

0

0

0

0

Forest products utilization

1

0

0

0

0

0

Forest products processing technology

2

1

0

0

0

0

Pulp and paper production

1

0

0

0

0

0

Forestry production and processing, other

2

2

0

0

0

0

Total

10

7

3

3

4

4

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

 

Degree Program

 

Bachelor's

 

Master's

 

Doctorate

 

Specialization

1984–85

1991–92

1984–85

1991–92

1984–85

1991–92

Forestry and related sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forestry and related products, general

16

15

20

21

13

13

Forestry

7

5

5

6

1

3

Forest biology

2

0

0

0

0

0

Forest engineering

3

3

1

1

0

0

Forest hydrology

1

0

2

0

1

0

Forest management

9

8

4

3

3

2

Forest mensuration

0

0

0

0

0

0

Urban forestry

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wood science

8

7

6

4

0

2

Forestry and related science, other

3

4

1

1

0

0

Total

49

42

39

36

18

20

Wildlife management

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game farm management

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wildlife management

22

25

18

20

7

6

Total

22

25

18

20

7

6

Agricultural engineering

41

38

32

36

15

19

Preveterinary

4

4

0

0

0

0

Veterinary medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veterinary science (excludes D.V.M.)

5

6

15

18

11

14

Biology, general

63

126

32

59

16

28

Biochemistry and biophysics

34

36

36

34

33

35

Botany

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botany, general

33

23

32

29

28

27

Bacteriology

4

2

3

1

2

0

Mycology

0

0

1

0

0

0

Plant pharmacology

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

37

25

36

30

30

27

Cell and molecular biology

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cell biology

1

2

3

4

3

4

Molecular biology

2

4

2

3

3

4

Total

3

6

5

7

6

8

Microbiology

38

39

36

34

31

32

Miscellaneous specialized areas, life sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anatomy

1

1

4

5

5

8

Biometrics and biostatistics

4

3

4

4

4

4

Ecology

8

8

14

12

11

11

Embryology

0

0

0

0

0

0

Endocrinology

0

0

2

1

1

3

Histology

0

0

0

0

0

0

Marine biology

2

3

4

3

2

2

Parasitology

0

10

2

14

0

18

Toxicology

1

0

5

9

8

8

Total

16

25

35

48

31

54

Parks and recreation, general

17

13

6

6

2

3

Parks and recreation management

24

22

8

8

1

2

Water resources

0

2

5

6

2

0

NOTE: The list of specializations in this table was derived from many sources that have similar programs, each of which has been titled slightly differently. Consequently, titles listed may seem repetitive or categories may seem fragmented. Data are provided in response to FAEIS's annual survey of enrollment (see below) and any specialization in which a degree was conferred is included in this listing.

SOURCE: FAEIS. 1994. Fall 1993 Enrollment in Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources and Forestry: A Combined Report. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

FIGURE 3-5

The number of bachelor degree programs in most areas of agricultural science and renewable resources at land grant institutions declined slightly between 1984–1985 and 1991–1992, although the number of programs in general biology (genetic, cell, and molecular biology and microbiology) increased significantly.

FIGURE 3-6

At the master's degree level, between 1984–1985 and 1991–1992 the number of programs in soil science, natural resources, and agricultural engineering/mechanics at land grant institutions increased only slightly while the number offering programs in general biology (genetic, cell, and molecular biology and microbiology) increased more.

FIGURE 3-7

Between 1984–1985 and 1991–1992 there were increases in more degree program areas at the doctorate level than at the bachelor or master's levels.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

A DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENTISTS

  • Today's and tomorrow's leaders of the land grant colleges of agriculture are its doctorate degree recipients. Its graduates at all degree levels have the potential to become leaders in industry, government, schools, and communities across the country—in fact, they often become the colleges' clientele. However, Ph.D. recipients are the ones most likely to join the colleges as faculty members and scientists, and advance to administrative positions at the colleges and universities.

  • Most U.S. agricultural scientists received their doctorate degrees from land grant universities. Thus a review of demographic characteristics of Ph.D. agricultural scientists who received degrees from U.S. schools provides a fairly accurate profile of those who received doctorate degrees from land grant colleges of agriculture. The demographic data used here were collected by surveying a sample of Ph.D. scientists; the survey was administered by the National Research Council's Office of Science and Engineering Personnel.2

  • Table 3-10 shows that the estimated number of agricultural scientists continues to grow but more slowly than the number of scientists in the life or natural sciences. In relative terms, agricultural science is losing human capital. Among agricultural scientists, the majority are plant and soil scientists, though the dominance of this group has declined from 58 percent in 1973 to 49 percent in 1991.

  • Agricultural scientists with doctorate degrees, like their peers in other areas of science, are still most likely to go to work for an academic institution. However, agricultural scientists are more likely to be employed in government (because of the large intramural research program at the USDA) and less likely to be employed in the private sector than their natural science peers. For all scientists, including agricultural scientists, academia and government are becoming less important as employers, while industry is becoming more important (Table 3-11). (Food scientists are the agricultural scientists most likely to have private sector jobs.) Thus the private sector increasingly competes with universities for those graduates with leadership potential.

  • Agricultural science is still clearly a more male-dominated discipline than other areas of science (Table 3-12). Within the agricultural science community, only in food sciences are women, at 22.5 percent, nearly as well represented as they are in science in general.

TABLE 3-10

Number of Employed Scientists Holding Doctorate Degrees, by Discipline, 1973, 1979, 1985, 1991

 

Year

Discipline

1973

1979

1985

1991

Agricultural sciences

 

 

 

 

Agricultural economics

314

993

1,835

2,200

Animal sciences

2,184

2,909

3,612

4,148

Plant and soil sciences

6,285

8,016

9,687

10,751

Forestry and wildlife management

1,346

2,211

2,510

2,811

Food sciences

653

915

1,430

1,944

Subtotal

10,782

15,044 (40)

19,074 (27)

21,854 (15)

Life sciences

42,593

60,343 (42)

81,226 (35)

99,180 (22)

Natural sciences

123,248

166,265 (35)

208,431 (25)

243,081 (17)

All sciences

173,674

248,994 (43)

323,056 (30)

379,768 (18)

NOTE: Number in parentheses is the percentage increase over previous year in table.

SOURCE: Data are from the National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel's biennial surveys of doctorate recipients.

2  

Scientists answering the National Research Council survey identified their own scientific specializations. These may not match their academic degree specializations at graduation reported to FAEIS.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-11

Employment (percent) of Scientists Holding Doctorate Degrees, 1973, 1979, 1985, 1991

 

Year

Employment Field

1973

1979

1985

1991

Education

 

 

 

 

Agricultural sciences

62.8

57.8

57.0

54.5

Life sciences

68.2

66.5

62.2

59.1

Natural sciences

57.8

55.6

53.4

51.7

All other sciences

61.9

58.6

55.6

52.8

Business/Industrya

 

 

 

 

Agricultural sciences

15.0

19.8

24.6

25.0

Life sciences

12.4

13.3

19.5

22.2

Natural sciences

25.1

27.1

31.5

32.4

All other sciences

20.4

22.3

27.7

29.3

Governmentb

 

 

 

 

Agricultural sciences

20.7

19.5

15.7

16.3

Life sciences

12.4

11.6

10.1

10.4

Natural sciences

12.0

11.2

9.6

9.9

All other sciences

11.4

10.7

9.3

9.6

Nonprofit Organizations

 

 

 

 

Agricultural sciences

1.3

2.3

2.3

2.4

Life sciences

6.6

7.6

8.1

7.7

Natural sciences

4.8

5.4

5.3

5.3

All other sciences

6.0

7.5

7.0

7.2

a Includes self-employed.

b Federal, state, and local.

SOURCE: Data are from the National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel's biennial surveys of doctorate recipients.

TABLE 3-12

Prevalent Demographic Characteristics (percent) of Employed Scientists Holding Doctorate Degrees, 1991

Characteristic

Discipline

Male

White

Age 55 and Over

U.S. Citizen

Agricultural sciences

90.0

86.3

19.9

92.8

Agricultural economics

91.4

85.6

5.8

88.6

Animal sciences

89.8

90.2

17.9

93.1

Plant and soil sciences

90.7

86.3

23.5

93.7

Forestry and wildlife management

92.5

93.9

22.9

95.5

Food sciences

80.5

65.1

16.9

87.9

Life sciences

73.6

87.8

15.3

95.5

Natural sciences

83.6

86.3

18.0

93.6

All sciences

78.3

87.7

18.1

94.4

 

SOURCE: Data are from the National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel's biennial surveys of doctorate recipients.

  • Although the differences may not be statistically significant, it appears that relative to other areas of science a slightly higher percentage of agricultural scientists are more than 55 years old and a slightly lower percentage are U.S. citizens (Table 3-12). These figures may indicate a declining interest among U.S. students in pursuing agricultural science careers, while the age figure suggests that new leadership opportunities are at hand. The higher percent of non-U.S. citizens in agricultural sciences may also suggest that the colleges of agriculture have a relatively larger role in international training than do nonagriculture schools.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
  • Table 3-13 presents trends in the numbers of women and ethnic minorities in the agricultural sciences. Clearly, women are a significantly larger percentage in agricultural science today than 20 years ago; however, their presence is still minimal in relation to that of women in either life or natural sciences.

  • In contrast, ethnic minorities are represented in similar proportions in agricultural sciences and other areas of science. In all areas of science, participation by ethnic minorities has grown more slowly than participation of women. It is interesting that only in the agricultural sciences are ethnic minorities actually better represented than women as a group (Table 3-13). (This, however, may reflect inclusion of U.S.-educated scientists from, for example, Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc.)

  • Table 3-14 shows that the percent of agricultural scientists less than 35 years old is declining as it is in all areas of science. Thus the science community is aging generally, although agricultural scientists are somewhat older than their peers.

TABLE 3-13

Women and Ethnic Minority Scientists (percent) Holding Doctorate Degrees, 1973, 1979, 1985, 1991

 

Year

Discipline

1973

1979

1985

1991

Women

Agricultural sciences

1.3

2.6

5.5

9.3

Agricultural economics

0.6

1.7

5.2

12.5

Animal sciences

1.1

2.7

4.8

8.4

Plant and soil sciences

1.1

1.8

4.9

7.9

Forestry and wildlife management

0.0

0.2

2.2

7.1

Food sciences

7.0

16.3

17.8

18.4

Life sciences

12.7

15.8

21.3

26.7

Natural sciences

6.8

8.9

12.5

16.4

All sciences

8.9

12.3

17.0

21.6

Ethnic Minorities

Agricultural sciences

6.3

11.0

12.0

11.8

Agricultural economics

7.0

13.3

15.1

11.5

Animal sciences

2.3

6.5

8.2

9.4

Plant and soil sciences

7.7

12.2

11.5

10.1

Forestry and wildlife management

1.1

4.1

5.1

5.9

Food sciences

12.7

30.2

32.8

35.4

Life sciences

6.3

8.8

9.8

11.3

Natural sciences

5.7

9.0

10.8

12.4

All sciences

5.4

8.1

9.9

11.2

 

SOURCE: Data are from the National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel's biennial surveys of doctorate recipients.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

TABLE 3-14

Scientists (percent) Less Than 35 Years Old Holding Doctorate Degrees, 1973, 1979, 1985, 1991

 

Year

Discipline

1973

1979

1985

1991

Agricultural sciences

21.4

13.7

13.2

8.8

Agricultural economics

56.3

24.7

20.1

11.1

Animal sciences

17.6

12.1

13.8

10.8

Plant and soil sciences

20.5

11.8

13.2

8.2

Forestry and wildlife management

20.3

13.9

7.3

4.4

Food sciences

26.8

22.6

13.5

11.9

Life sciences

27.1

22.6

16.5

10.6

Natural sciences

28.3

20.4

15.2

11.5

All other sciences

27.3

20.6

14.4

10.1

 

SOURCE: Data are from the National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel's biennial surveys of doctorate recipients.

ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION

  • What factors explain the trends in enrollment at colleges of agriculture? Will the large agribusiness sector, and strong public interest in food, natural resource, and environmental issues, generate a continued demand for programs of colleges of agriculture even though few students will enter or return to farming? Are college curricula adjusting to meet the interests of today's students and the needs of today's agribusiness industry?

  • Do the instruction programs of the colleges provide the basic knowledge and practical skills pertinent to those who do return to farms or join businesses that serve farms? (Are they too ''discipline-oriented''?)

  • Are programs of the colleges adjusting or consolidating in accordance with trends in student demand? Could system-wide efficiencies be realized through increased specialization by individual colleges in the offering of specific degrees?

  • What are the future relative roles of land grant colleges of agriculture and non-land grants in educating students in agriculture, food, and natural resource fields?

  • Ph.D. students have different academic program emphases than undergraduates. Is the pool of potential new faculty appropriate to the future instructional needs of the colleges?

  • What qualities and characteristics are desired of the current and future leadership of the colleges of agriculture?

  • Given the growing diversity of the system's clientele, how important to the system's future is a diversity of backgrounds and views among its leadership? How can the colleges enhance opportunities for and attractiveness of their programs to women, minorities, and young scientists?

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×

SUGGESTED READINGS

Coulter, K. Jane, Allan D. Goecker, and Marge Stanton. Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in the Food and Agricultural Sciences: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Veterinary Medicine. Washington, D.C.: Higher Education Programs, Cooperative State Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture , 1990.


Marchant, Mary, and Handy Williamson, Jr., eds. Achieving Diversity: The Status and Progress of Women and African Americans in the Agricultural Economics Profession. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994.


National Research Council. Agriculture and the Undergraduate. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992.

National Research Council. Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 1992. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1993.

National Research Council. Educating the Next Generation of Agricultural Scientists. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988.

National Research Council. Plant Biology Research and Training for the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992.

National Research Council. Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988.

National Research Council. Women Scientists and Engineers Employed in Industry: Why So Few? Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994.


U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education 1993. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1993.

Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 34
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 35
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 36
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 38
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 41
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 42
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 43
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 46
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 47
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 48
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 49
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 50
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 51
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 52
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 53
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 54
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 55
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 56
Suggested Citation:"3 The Colleges of Agriculture: Academic Programs and Demographics of Students and Graduates." National Research Council. 1995. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4980.
×
Page 57
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Although few Americans work as farmers these days, agriculture on the whole remains economically important--playing a key role in such contemporary issues as consumer health and nutrition, worker safety and animal welfare, and environmental protection. This publication provides a comprehensive picture of the primary education system for the nation's agriculture industry: the land grant colleges of agriculture.

Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities informs the public debate about the challenges that will shape the future of these colleges and serves as a foundation for a second volume, which will present recommendations for policy and institutional changes in the land grant system.

This book reviews the legislative history of the land grant system from its establishment in 1862 to the 1994 act conferring land grant status on Native American colleges. It describes trends that have shaped agriculture and agricultural education over the decades--the shift of labor from farm to factory, reasons for and effects of increased productivity and specialization, the rise of the corporate farm, and more.

The committee reviews the system's three-part mission--education, research, and extension service--and through this perspective documents the changing nature of funding and examines the unique structure of the U.S. agricultural research and education system. Demographic data on faculties, students, extension staff, commodity and funding clusters, and geographic specializations profile the system and identify similarities and differences among the colleges of agriculture, trends in funding, and a host of other issues.

The tables in the appendix provide further itemization about general population distribution, student and educator demographics, types of degree programs, and funding allocations. Concise commentary and informative graphics augment the detailed statistical presentations. This book will be important to policymakers, administrators, educators, researchers, and students of agriculture.

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