Enrollment in the College of Agriculture broke records for the fourth straight year this fall, hitting 645 majors, up from 549 in 2011. The latest figures represent a growth of nearly 80 percent since 2006. Each of the four majors and options within the College of Agriculture have experienced growth, led by animal science, which has more than doubled in the past six years to 240 majors, and crops, horticulture, and land resource management, which has tripled to 112 majors. Agricultural business is up 43 percent with 201 majors, and the option in agriscience and education has grown 41 percent to 92 majors.
Dean Jennifer Ryder Fox said that enrollment in agriculture programs is growing nationwide, but the growth at Chico State is surpassing national averages. “I believe the overall growth is partly due to society’s growing interest in food, how it is grown, and where it comes from. Here at Chico State, we are becoming the college of first choice for a growing number of students.”
Fox cites the college’s hands-on opportunities, close relationships that students have with faculty, and its emphasis on leadership and civic engagement as the driving forces behind the record growth. “It’s a place where students can get a truly practical agriculture education in a welcoming environment and a great community, and prospective students recognize that,” she said.
While growth has been a goal of the College of Agriculture for years, Fox said it comes at a difficult time when the college’s budget is not adequate to support the increase in student enrollment. “We have not been able to hire new faculty to serve the hundreds of new students. Faculty and staff are working really hard to keep up, but clearly we cannot continue to grow as we have the past several years.”