Dhillon School of Busi­ness an­nounces new ma­jor in Agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Lethbridge -

Thanks to the gen­eros­ity of Cor Van Raay and his $5-mil­lion gift to the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge and Leth­bridge Col­lege, along with match­ing fund­ing from the provin­cial govern­ment, the Dhillon School of Busi­ness is launch­ing a new ma­jor in Agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment.

Van Raay rec­og­nized the busi­ness and man­age­ment as­pects of agri­cul­ture — agri­cul­tural fi­nance, mar­ket­ing and trade, for ex­am­ple — needed more at­ten­tion and his do­na­tion be­came the cat­a­lyst to ex­pand the busi­ness fo­cus on agri­cul­ture.

“This new ma­jor in Agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment is a great fit for the Dhillon School of Busi­ness,” says Dr. Sham­sul Alam, as­so­ci­ate dean of the Dhillon School of Busi­ness. “We are fo­cused on busi­ness in­no­va­tions, such as blockchain, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, ma­chine learn­ing and big data, and many of th­ese in­no­va­tions will help keep our food pro­duc­tion safe and nu­tri­tious.”

“The agri-food sec­tor is fore­cast to be one of the most dy­namic, chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing ar­eas of busi­ness as the world’s pop­u­la­tion keeps in­creas­ing,” says David Hill, direc­tor of de­vel­op­ment with the South­ern Al­berta Agri­cul­ture & Agribusi­ness pro­gram. “This agribusi­ness pro­gram con­cen­trates on how busi­ness, man­age­ment, fi­nance and their re­lated dis­ci­plines can be ac­tively ap­plied to any agri­cul­tural en­ter­prise.”

The Agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment pro­gram was de­vel­oped by Leth­bridge Col­lege and the U of L in an in­te­grated way. Both in­sti­tu­tions spoke with stake­hold­ers in the farm­ing com­mu­nity, in­dus­try and govern­ment to de­velop eight learn­ing out­comes for the pro­gram. From there, four pil­lars were iden­ti­fied: ac­count­ing and fi­nance, pol­icy and reg­u­la­tions, mar­ket­ing, and op­er­a­tions and man­age­ment.

Fol­low­ing Van Raay’s in­vest­ment, the U of L cre­ated a six-course mi­nor which was the fore­run­ner to the cur­rent ma­jor.

Fol­low­ing the cre­ation of the mi­nor, Leth­bridge Col­lege cre­ated a diploma in Agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment and stu­dents were ac­cepted into the fall 2018 term. The U of L’s ma­jor will ac­cept stu­dents be­gin­ning in the fall 2019 term.

Stu­dents from across Cam­pus Al­berta will be able to par­tic­i­pate in this new ma­jor, with at least 12 cour­ses from other col­leges trans­fer­able and work be­ing done to add even more.

The pro­gram is not a typ­i­cal two-plustwo model but rather is an in­te­grated, flex­i­ble, four-year pro­gram where stu­dents have an op­por­tu­nity to exit with diplo­mas or to com­plete a four-year de­gree.

“We deal with the ser­vice value-added ac­tiv­i­ties and how it goes from the farm to the fork,” says Alam. “Al­though we have de­vel­oped this with the col­lege, it is unique in its de­liv­ery. No other univer­sity in Canada or the United States has this pro­gram. Other pro­grams are based on science or eco­nomics or biotech­nol­ogy, but this pro­gram is based on busi­ness.”

The new ma­jor was for­mally an­nounced on Satur­day, Oct. 27 dur­ing the Cor Van Raay Agribusi­ness Case Com­pe­ti­tion gala din­ner and awards pre­sen­ta­tion at the Gar­den Court restau­rant at Leth­bridge Col­lege. Van Raay, as well as col­lege and univer­sity of­fi­cials, will be in at­ten­dance.

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