From left are Dr. Patricia Morgenstern, Kevin Conner, Dr. David Devier, all from Glen Oaks; Dr. Randy Showerman, from MSU and Mark Trowbridge, president of the Centreville School Board and Rob Kuhlman, superintendent of Centreville Schools.

Glen Oaks partners with Michigan State University to offer Agribusiness program

Glen Oaks Community College has entered into a partnership with Michigan State
University to offer an Associate of Applied Science in Business degree with a concentration in
Agricultural Operations (Agribusiness).

The partnership allows students to earn a certificate from the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology
(IAT) while working toward an associate degree from Glen Oaks. The partnership between the two
institutions benefits those seeking employment in the agricultural industry. Every credit earned will
transfer to MSU for students seeking a four-year degree.

“We have been working with representatives from MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
for quite some time to prepare this program for launch,” said Kevin Conner, Glen Oaks professor of
information technology. “The degree prepares students to move directly into the workforce or continue in further studies in agriculture. Students will take courses from both Glen Oaks and Michigan State
University’s Institute of Agricultural Technology, and the program will emphasize fundamentals in farm
and crop management.”

Students in the program will gain a solid background in plant and soil science, precision agriculture,
water management, entomology, plant pathology and business management. Students will also have
exposure to exciting opportunities available in the industry.

Early on, Mark Trowbridge, president of the Centreville School Board, was a driving force in pursuing
the idea of such a program in the county. His son was involved in the Career Tech Education
Agriculture program in Centreville and is currently a student studying agriculture at MSU. “I felt there
was a void in our county for students who wanted to pursue careers in agriculture,” said Trowbridge.
“As a result of my son attending MSU, I had exposure to the type of off-campus programs that MSU
offers in agribusiness and shared these with Glen Oaks administration in an effort to stimulate
conversation.”

Glen Oaks saw the interest and formed an advisory committee to help identify the need for types of
agricultural careers in the region and continue the process of working on the partnership with MSU.
“We are very excited about what we have put together here, said Dr. Randy Showerman, director of
the Institute of Agricultural Technology at MSU. “Many of the courses will be taught by people from the
community. We work with our extension educators to identify instructors. Some of the courses will be
delivered online.”

All the courses are designed to help students develop a background on how to either run their own
agriculture-related business or be a valuable employee in a larger operation.

“This is a tremendous value added for students in this community,” said Showerman. “Many students
aren’t able to afford to go off to a four-year school and live away from home. Some students are
uncomfortable with the whole idea of going to a big school.”

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