Published on 09/25/08

UGA ag, environmental college sets student record

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

This fall, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences welcomed the largest student body in its history, said J. Scott Angle, CAES dean and director.

“Georgia’s agricultural industry continues to grow and is still the largest industry in the state,” Angle said. “This creates a tremendous demand for a highly educated, well-trained workforce. Our unprecedented growth in student numbers will help us make strides toward meeting industry demand in the state and across the nation.”

CAES currently has 2,002 students in all. Of those, 1,588 are undergraduates. The college’s previous record was 1,532 undergraduates, which was set in 1978.

“Increased recruiting efforts on campus and at transfer institutions have helped us bring more students into our classrooms,” said Josef Broder, CAES associate dean for academics. “On campus, we are seen as a student friendly college that takes a personal interest in our students and one that offers majors that prepare students for their career goals.”

The CAES priority admission process for transfer students has helped, too, Broder said. UGA limits the number of students can transfer into the university each year. Because of the high demand for CAES graduates and the college’s capacity to serve more students, transfer admissions continue to increase.

“It has raised students’ hope, expectations and willingness to transferring to our college,” he said.

The CAES majors with the most students are ones relating to biological science and animal science.

“We’re living in the decade of the biological sciences,” Broder said. “Students are attracted to careers that nurture and enhance the health and environment of living organisms. Our biological and animal-related majors serve as excellent platforms for careers in the animal, human and environmental health.”

Agricultural engineering, agribusiness, environmental management and horticulture majors continue to be popular. Agricultural and applied economics majors had a 156 percent increase in one year.

The college had a 13 percent increase in graduate students this year. Poultry science had the largest increase in graduate students at 46 percent.

An abundance of high-paying jobs are available to CAES graduates. CAES graduates had the third highest starting salaries in the workplace among UGA graduates, according to the 2007 UGA Career Center Graduate Survey. CAES graduates fell only slightly behind graduates from the Terry College of Business and the College of Environment and Design in the highest median starting income.

“We live in a global economy and students should prepare themselves to work with other cultures and countries,” Broder said. “I would ask them to look beyond the seemingly glamour careers enjoyed by celebrities and consider majors in the applied sciences, leadership and service, to apply their many talents to solving problems of the living earth and its growing inhabitants.”

Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.