From a news release
As students settle into their new environment at Ridgetown Campus and the broader Ridgetown community, the campus continues to experience academic, training and extension growth. “We’re excited about the demand for our programs and services and it’s our goal to meet the on-going needs and changing demands of our agricultural community,” says Ken McEwan, Campus Director. “We’re excited about the future, and where we can have the most impact on the sectors and organizations we serve.” Here is a brief update on some current and growth activities.
Full-Time Diploma and Certificate Students
Student enrollment in diploma and certificate programs remains strong for the 8th consecutive year with approximately 650 students expected. Students from across the province will begin classes on Thursday, September 8th with the agriculture diploma program representing close to 60% of the student body. Students in other various programs represent the remaining 40% of the student population. The campus is also anticipating final approval on an additional associate diploma offering. If approved, the Equine Care and Management diploma would have an expected first intake in September 2017.
Graduate Student Attraction
Ridgetown Campus continues to attract an increasing number of national and international Master’s and Ph.D. students who wish to complete their graduate training with one of the campus’ esteemed research faculty. During their graduate studies at Ridgetown, Dr. Ivan O’Halloran’s three new students will be joining two current graduate students, and the team will be addressing provincial concerns around phosphorus run-off from current agricultural practices.
At this time, Ridgetown hosts approximately 18-20 Masters and Ph.D. students who will spend time at both the Ridgetown and Guelph campuses during their two to four years of graduate studies.
Business Development Centre Training Growth
In addition to the on-going delivery of several provincially mandated training programs and industry certifications, the Business Development Centre also deliverers the Integrated Pest Management – Corn and Soybean course. In recent months, they have delivered this new training program to over 9,000 farmers across Ontario through over 580 course offerings. The Business Development Centre has also recently been approved as the training delivery agent for the Dairy Herdperson Apprenticeship program. During the last winter training period this group also delivered its cornerstone pesticide education certification program to over 5,800 farmers and agribusiness employees in Ontario.
Research Extension Delivery
Campus researchers continue to share their research findings through various delivery platforms. During the summer and fall period, researchers are offering specialized tours to agricultural stakeholders as well as travelling to various extension events held across the province. Some Ridgetown faculty deliver 25-50 presentations per year to key industry stakeholders.
As the new academic year begins, staff and faculty at OAC’s Ridgetown Campus are proud to be engaged in the delivery of innovative academic and research programs and services that ensure the on-going competitiveness and sustainability of Ontario agriculture. In the last 5 years the campus budget has expanded from $15 to close to $20 million annually; with approximately 30% of this revenue received from the province, and the remaining funds leveraged from a number of campus partners and industry stakeholders.