Department Head’s Corner – February 2016

Steve Searcy, Department Head

Steve Searcy, Department Head

If you paid attention to the language we used to describe our recent centennial activities, you will remember that we focused on preparing for our second century of education and service.  Since the centennial year is completed, you might wonder what we are doing now.  In a variety of ways, the department is in transition.  One reason for change is our need to compete with all other engineering majors for entering students.  Entering freshmen now enroll in the College of Engineering rather than specific majors, and are given the opportunity to learn about each of the available majors.   We have been working on marketing materials that highlight the opportunities and rewards of work in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and the environment.  A big part of that effort is highlighting the exciting jobs that you as BAEN or AGSM grads have obtained.  A few of you were gracious enough to allow us to interview you about your jobs during the centennial event.  The diversity of career paths of our graduates resonates with potential students, so we would like to expand our collection of recorded interviews.  If you are willing to let us interview you for these marketing materials, please contact me.

Employment Opportunities

Graphic source:  https://www.purdue.edu/usda/employment/

At the same time as I was writing these comments, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine was streaming a workshop entitled Creating the Future Workforce in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Background materials for this workshop included some analyses that directly address the future of our students.  An analysis of employment opportunities for the period 2015-2020 predicted 57,900 average annual openings for college graduates, while universities are expected to graduate only 35,400 per year to fill these jobs.  The opportunity to work on the critical challenges facing society (adequate and sustainable supplies of safe, nutritious food, clean water and renewable energy) motivate today’s students.  It is our challenge to communicate those opportunities to them.

The attached graphic demonstrates the need for our AGSM graduates as well as BAEN majors.  I invite you to help get this message out, either by sharing your experiences with us or by talking to local high school students that hope to become Aggies about these opportunities. We have marketing materials to share, so let me know if you need some.

Sincerely,
Steve Searcy
s-searcy@tamu.edu

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