New major, Ag. Comm., offered at WSC

Kaitlynn Breeden , Staff Writer

This fall, for the first time, Wayne State College is offering Agricultural Communications as a major, becoming the first college in Nebraska to offer this major.

“We modelled the program of study with other universities that have similar programs,” said Dr. Deborah Whitt, chair of the communication arts department. “For example, North Dakota has an Agricultural Communication concentration. It’s one of the biggest majors in the communication area. It fits with individuals [students] who were very involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America) in school.”

Agricultural Communication combines man different disciplines under the umbrella of the communications department.

“Agricultural Communication is a media-rich concentration, for students who are interested in promotion of agriculture, writing, radio, advertising, etc,” said Whitt. “It’s a real nice mix of actually quite a few courses in communication. Many businesses want new people who are trained to communicate their business. They see themselves working for businesses, but they could also be working for environmental groups. Think about where it could take you in many different areas.”

The agricultural communication concentration will include the mass communication core courses 15 credit hours, plus 21 credit hours in radio and video production courses, public relations, social media marketing, organizational leadership and agricultural communication.

“The major is mainly to train students to better hone their skills in communicating agriculture and become a leader in communicating agriculture. And being a leader in their business and communicating their business to others,” said Whitt.

The concentration is still very new, but Whitt says she is hopeful that the major will recruit new students to Wayne State. “Recruiting was one of the reasons why we added it,” said Whitt. “We have a handful [of students involved in the major] at the moment, but that’s because we just started. Once we get started we will pick up more majors, more individuals who are interested in the promotion of agriculture.”

Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) is a new club that will be offered to students this year. The club is still under works but will eventually be open to students who are interested.

“Justin Bergh is going to be the advisor to ACT, but we’re really excited because that club has a national affiliation, other universities have the club,” said Whitt. “They have a media summit in the summer, so the students can participate in a media summit on agriculture. We believe that the students who are interested in this will also support this concentration. We’re hopeful that it will connect with many majors and minors around campus.”

Agricultural Communication is a broad major that includes many of the basic journalism courses. By taking these courses, students will learn how to effectively promote agriculture through writing, television and radio production.