As new technologies and best practices are introduced in agriculture, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) re-designs the focus of its academic programs to reflect innovations and ensure that curriculum is workforce relevant. The NICC Board of Trustees approved the suspension of the College’s Agriculture Production – Associate of Applied Science degree program and approved a new Associate of Applied Science program in its place, Agronomy and Crop Science.
The Agriculture Production program, which presented an overview of a variety of ag production areas, will close at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. The new Agronomy and Crop Science program, to be offered starting in 2018-2019, focuses on soil health, food production, and farm sustainability. New courses include Plant Physiology, Livestock Nutrient Management, Grain Management, Agriculture Fertilizer and Chemicals, and a Special Project.
The shift in program design reflects changes in crop production and is a result of discussions with member colleges and organizations affiliated with the Community College Agriculture Alliance Advisory (CCAAC). NICC is one of ten Midwest colleges, and the only community college invited to join the consortium to move agriculture research and best practices forward across the nation. As an adaptive higher education institution, the College embraces a model of continuous improvement and evaluates academic programs each year to ensure their relevance to the workforce, according to Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., NICC president.