The University of Arkansas study tabs Texas Tech program ahead of all others.
The agricultural communications undergraduate program offered by Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural Education and Communications is ranked as the best in the nation, according to a new University of Arkansas study.
“I was excited to see the No. 1 national ranking for our department,” department chairman Steve Fraze said. “We have a very talented and dedicated faculty combined with an outstanding set of students. Being ranked No. 1 nationally recognizes this fact and helps in the recruitment of students, not only undergraduate but graduate students as well. It also makes Texas Tech a desirable destination for future faculty.”
Forty programs throughout the country were identified in the study, titled, “Characteristics of U.S. Agricultural Communications Undergraduate Program.” Led by Jefferson Miller, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology at the University of Arkansas, the research focused on creating an account of existing programs, a description of those programs and identifying program demographics and top programs.
Following Texas Tech were the University of Florida, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University and Kansas State University.
Agricultural communications programs have experienced a growth spurt the past two decades with a net increase of 11 new programs. But as a group, they're diverse in structure and age. Some programs began in the early 1900s while the newest program began in 2009. The average student enrollment per institution is 66 students.
Texas Tech's agricultural communications program was established in the 1970s with Lewis Eggenberger as coordinator. A bachelor's degree in agricultural communications was approved in 1992. Today, the program has 166 undergraduate students.
Agricultural communications at Texas Tech allows students to specialize in both mass communications and agriculture. The communications component offers courses in journalism, public relations, graphic design, photography and online media.
“Our agricultural communications program is exceptional because we are always looking at how we can improve each class topic, every course, the curriculum and extracurricular opportunities,” said Courtney Meyers, an associate professor who joined the department in 2008. “We also strive to provide valuable service and insightful research. We're fortunate to have very talented students and alumni who are excellent ambassadors for our program.”