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Texas Tech to offer groundbreaking doctoral program for ag education leaders

Texas Tech to offer groundbreaking doctoral program for ag education leaders

Texas Tech University today (Nov. 10) announced the launch of a new, human dimension-focused doctoral program to prepare graduates for senior academic leadership roles in agricultural communications and education. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Agricultural Communications and Education will be taught by faculty from Tech’s nationally-recognized Department of Agricultural Education and Communications starting in January.

“While technology will certainly impact the success of agriculture in the future, it’s within the human dimensions of our industry that we will realize our greatest achievements,” said David Doerfert, a Texas Tech professor of agricultural communications. “Graduates of our program will help lead the way.”

The doctorate is designed to equip students with a deep understanding of learning and teaching, as well as research and leadership skills necessary to reshape the American agricultural education sector, he said. Another impetus behind the degree’s creation is a surprisingly high demand for faculty positions in agricultural education, communications, leadership, and Extension during the past decade.

“New faculty members need to be able to teach and conduct service-related activities in multiple contextual areas, while having a singular programmatic focus to their research efforts,” said Doerfert, who also serves at the department’s graduate studies coordinator.

According to Doerfert, the new degree program provides ample opportunities for advanced studies in the human dimensions of agriculture. Within the program, Texas Tech students will have access to a variety of combinations between the areas of teacher education, communications, Extension education, leadership, international agriculture, distance education, and community development.

Experiences such as these are specifically designed to prepare students for the rigors of a faculty position, including successful scholarship in academic and research appointments, he said. Each doctoral candidate is expected to demonstrate competency by completing:
• A final oral examination
• A comprehensive written examination
• A dissertation that demonstrates original, independent scholarship
• A minimum of 10 outside-of-course experiences in the various human dimensions of agriculture including, but not limited to, the areas of teaching, communications, extension, international agriculture, and research.

Another contributing factor behind creation of the new advanced degree program in Lubbock is the traditional academic strength of the department, Doerfert said. Tech’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications was ranked among the ‘Top 10’ agricultural education departments in a 2009 national study of the profession.

“This new degree program will position our graduates for success in today’s 21st century university.” he said.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: David Doerfert, Professor of Agricultural Communications & Graduate Studies Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2816 or david.doerfert@ttu.edu

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