New Mexico State University department of entomology, plant pathology and weed science will be offering a new degree option starting the Fall 2020 semester.
The plant health management option, under the agricultural biology major, will cater to students interested in careers in crop health management and supervisor and landscape settings where people manage plant systems.
Associate Professor of Weed Physiology and Entomology Brian Schutte expressed that the new emphasis was brought into play over the department worrying they may be ignoring an entire field of work students are interested in entering.
“The curriculum committee within the EPWS [department] sees opportunities for students that are perhaps not being fulfilled in particular. Maybe there are students who have an interest in plants and want to have a career in plant health management but they don’t have an organized curriculum currently providing them that option,” Schutte said.
NMSU junior Tamara Wilkins said the Plant Health Management option that will be offered by the EPWS department next year will greatly benefit students.
“Well, yeah like I think it’s a good move on the department’s side because they’re helping to train student for something that they’re really passionate about and make a career out of,” Wilkins said.
Schutte said no new courses would need to be added for this new option, as the courses already exist. Such classes would be weed science, plant pathology, plant mineral nutrition and others focused on plant growth and production primarily offered in the department of plant and environmental sciences.
“Students will have a better understanding of plant health management options, the implications for plant health management and the ability to solve problems in plant health management,” Schutte said.
According to Schutte, the curriculum committee began discussing the increasing need for the Plant Health Management option in Spring 2019 due to the number of upper-level students approaching various professors with an interest in plants.
Schutte said these students were looking for guidance on how to nourish their interest in plant health management and turn it into a career.
“It just kind of came out of discussions among committee members and Dr. Jerry Sims— he is the department head of EPWS,” Schutte said. “As we were winding down spring semester 2019, last spring, May, we kind of had kind of a debriefing, how the semester went and such. These ideas have always been discussed but that’s when we really encountered a lot of students.”
Currently, the curriculum committee is still making alterations and improvements to the degree map for this option which will be available Fall 2020.