Mission and Goals of the Agricultural Science Department
To provide all students with a broad understanding of the food system and its interconnections with other human and natural systems. To provide students with an understanding of the role agriculture has played historically in the development of human civilization. To provide agricultural science majors with the technical knowledge and skills to create and participate in an agricultural system which can meet the world’s needs for food and fiber while simultaneously enriching the human and natural resources on which the system depends.
The traditional approach to agriculture is reductionist, scientific, and technical. Its goal is to train specialists in the knowledge and skills of one of the many sub-disciplines of agriculture, such as agronomy, animal science, agricultural economics, equine science, or soil science. Although this method is appropriate at some institutions, we believe that a different approach is more appropriate for our institutional setting and the current food and fiber system. The reasons for this are two fold. First, agriculture is, by its very nature, interdisciplinary. The essence of agricultural science is the application of knowledge and skills gained from a variety of disciplines to a single subject. Second, education at a liberal arts and science university should strive to make connections between different fields of knowledge and foster liberal skills and attitudes rather than specialized, vocational ones.
For these reasons we offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science within the context of a liberal arts and sciences education. This degree provides our majors with a broad knowledge base in the arts and sciences, technical competence in the various areas of agriculture (animal science, crop science, soil science, equine science, agricultural business), and the ability to connect these fields of knowledge for practical problem-solving. We also provide to non-majors courses which demonstrate the application of basic scientific principles to agriculture and provide a general understanding of the food and fiber system. We have set forth the following specific goals for our major and non-major students.
For our majors, the Agricultural Science faculty holds the following goals:
- To offer to students a unique, liberal arts and sciences-based preparation for graduate school, veterinary medical school or other professional school, or entry-level career positions. Graduates should possess the technical skills needed for their job or for the continuance of their education, the ability to use this knowledge for problem solving, and the preparation and attitude necessary to continue acquiring new knowledge and skills.
- To graduate students possessing the knowledge and skills of a liberal education as defined by the mission of Truman State University. Graduates should demonstrate proficiency in basic skills including communication, mathematics, application of science and scientific method, thinking and problem solving, leadership, management, and collaboration.
- To graduate students possessing a multidisciplinary understanding of agriculture as a whole. Students will gain philosophical, historical, sociological, political, economic, business, scientific, technical, and multicultural perspectives on the mobilization of agricultural inputs and resources; the production, processing, and delivery of food and fiber; nutrition; and the interaction of agriculture with humanity and the environment.
- To graduate students with a well-developed understanding of their personal values.
For the non-major taking Agricultural Science courses, the study of agriculture offers rich opportunities to promote the goals of liberal learning because of its importance in our global society and because the study of agriculture bridges disciplinary approaches. Therefore, the Agricultural Science faculty have identified two additional goals for the non-major:
- To educate students not majoring in agriculture about the agrarian part of human culture, about food and fiber production systems, about the environmental and social consequences of using technology, and about science and its application.
- To promote learning of the skills and attitudes associated with a liberal education at Truman State University.
I am continually impressed at the numerous research opportunities available to Truman students. This provides them with a chance to work closely with a professor and go more in-depth on a topic they are interested in and provides a huge advantage to students interested in pursuing graduate studies.