As the horticulture industry enters the 21st century, advances in horticulture science will continue to be more rapid and frequent creating the need for more innovative approaches in information delivery. Moreover, decentralization continues to be a widespread trend. Land-grant universities have a long tradition of providing outreach, but with the development of new telecommunication technologies, larger audiences now can be reached. Many universities throughout the world have developed distance education programs through the use of modern telecommunication technologies. However, the University of Florida has responded to the needs of place-bound students by developing off-campus resident Bachelor of Science (BS) degree programs in horticulture at three locations in the state. These off-campus programs combine on-site instruction augmented with distance education courses to giveplace-bound students a flexible, efficient, and interactive alternative to degree programs offered at the main campus.
Kimberly A. Klock-Moore, George E. Fitzpatrick, and Richard K. Schoellhorn
Milton E. Tignor Jr. and Elizabeth M. Lamb
The Univ. of Florida has had off-campus degree programs for over a decade. In 1998, a new program in a major agricultural region of the state developed under unique circumstances. Community driven support, leadership from local politicians, and guidance from academic administrators resulted in the legislative funding of a new undergraduate teaching program in south Florida. The program offers upper-division courses leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in horticultural science and food and resource economics. Another unique aspect was the partnership formed with local universities necessary to offer the degrees. Locally, Indian River Community College provides lower-division courses and Florida Atlantic Univ. offers four upper-division courses to complete the course offerings for the degrees. Funding was allocated for eight new faculty members with 70% teaching appointments, four support staff, and a new $3.7 million teaching complex. In today's academic climate, having eight new faculty members at one time is a rare occurrence that allowed for creative growth on the part of the new teaching program. What was successful and unsuccessful concerning recruitment, advertising, purchasing, advising, collaborative efforts with local colleges, and administration will be discussed. In addition, demographics on the student body will be presented.