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UWRF CAFES Undertakes Program Review, Anticipates Change

FEB. 9, 2009 - The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is in the midst of a review of all programs and majors as part of an ongoing strategic planning process.

"We are looking for ways to better serve students and employers, and strategically manage our limited resources," says Dale Gallenberg, dean of CAFES. “We want to position the College for continued and future success."

One of the outcomes of this process to date is the decision to make changes to the existing, stand-alone major in food science and technology. The details of the changes will be worked out over the next several months by a group of faculty and staff in the College. The group will forward a recommendation to the college and university for administrative approval by the end of the 2008-09 academic year.

"The college is committed to maintaining capacity in the food science and technology area," says Gallenberg, "and several intriguing possibilities for a new model have emerged from preliminary discussions within the College. One possibility is to maintain a major, but with a broader interdisciplinary structure."            

Another model being considered is an option that is incorporated into one or more majors in the college, including dairy science, meat animal science, plant science and agricultural engineering technology, said Nate Splett, associate dean of CAFES, who noted that this model would be similar to the UWRF pre-veterinary program.

"For example, pre-veterinary medicine is not a major, but rather students choose one of the majors in the college such as animal science with a science option, where much of the coursework overlaps with the pre-requisites for veterinary school," said Splett.

Gallenberg said he wants to assure current and prospective students, alumni, industry supporters and employers that a focus on food will be a part of the CAFES curriculum, and that the faculty and staff involved in this process are keeping the students' best interest in mind.   Moreover, the college is committed to maintaining the unique, hands-on nature of the curriculum and the pilot plants will remain in place, he said.

"Program evaluation is working as I had hoped," Gallenberg said. "Even as enrollment in the college is growing, we need to ensure that we position ourselves and our students for the future. I am pleased with the process we have created that led us to this point, and I am especially grateful for the determination and creativity demonstrated by CAFES faculty and staff in serving our students."


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