Student success is our top priority at the College of Agricultural Sciences. This year, we’re ushering in several new opportunities to expand our students’ learning experiences and increase their success toward graduation and into rewarding careers.

Learning happens every day for our students, from informal conversations with faculty to career-building experiences in the field. Recently completed renovations to our venerable Strand Agriculture Hall have added seismic strength to the building and created safe, new spaces for student interaction, with light, airy classrooms and gathering places with writable glass walls for small groups to share ideas.

OSU’s new Learning Innovation Center (LInC) is a showcase for new directions in teaching and learning, as we move beyond passive memorization to active thinking, ana­lyzing, critiquing, and creating. As part of the initial planning team for the LInC, I was able to visit some of the most advanced learning centers in the nation, and this new building at OSU represents the best ideas in successful student learning.

There are more than 500 gathering spaces in the LInC, accommodating groups as small as 3 or 4 in windowed nooks, or as many as 600 in an arena-style classroom where no student is more than 8 rows from the teacher. Classrooms of various designs fill the heart of each floor of the LInC, leaving passageways and study areas on the outside, where large windows offer natural light and leafy views.

As innovative as these learning spaces are, there’s sometimes no substitute for getting out to the real world. The College of Agricultural Sciences offers students the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and experience education through hands-on-practice in experiment stations, research greenhouses, and living laboratories across the state. We offer college credit for off-campus internships, service learning, and study abroad. Our goal is to offer experiential learning opportunities to all our students, to develop their communication, teamwork, and analytical skills that will help them succeed as leaders in their fields.

There will be jobs available to these successful students upon graduation. A recent study produced for the USDA concludes that during the next five years, there will be more jobs than college graduates in the fields of food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and the environment. With programs as diverse as applied economics, molecular toxicology, and animal sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences is prepared to fill that national need with successful, engaged, career-ready graduates.

As we move into our newly renovated offices in Strand Ag Hall, we welcome everyone to get to know agricultural sciences. You’ll be surprised what you find here.