Director Tim McLochlin says it’s off to a good start, “We’re starting small and we’re offering a few course selections, and then as the interest grows and the program grows, we’ll offer more and more opportunities.” Right now, the program’s first students are taking an introductory course designed to teach them about the various aspects of the industry.
McLochlin says students who complete the program will be able to take what they learn and start working in agriculture right away, or they’ll be able to transfer their credits to a four-year school, “We’re working really closely with Purdue University. They’re proving to be some great partners, and we’re going to have an agreement in place pretty quickly to assure that anything you take at Ancilla will transfer to Purdue or other places. So those things are in the process of happening, and we think Purdue’s going to be a wonderful partner for what we’re trying to do at Ancilla.”
McLochlin expects there will interest from nontraditional students, as well, “In the agriculture industry, you have to be a lifelong learner. I think there will be the traditional students that have just left high school, but I think over time you’ll see people that have an interest and there’s an opportunity to learn new things at Ancilla, and I think you’ll have people taking advantage of a class here and a class there. And that’s the exciting thing is that we’ll be able to make it kind of an agricultural destination for education.”
He says Ancilla is the only junior college in Indiana to offer an agriculture degree, “It’s one of a kind, truly. And that’s part of what makes it so special, but when you look at the setting, the natural beauty, and the architecture, you can’t help but fall in love with the Ancilla campus. There’s things out there that no other place can offer, like the thousand-acre farm, the beef cattle herd. So this program is not just going to be in the classroom; it’s going to be outside, hands-on, being able to take advantage of some opportunities that, honestly, rival schools much, much larger.”