ABAC’s Agriculture Education program recently received accreditation from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Since the Agriculture Education bachelor’s degree was created at ABAC in 2016, faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to have the program accredited.
This accreditation will allow professors from the Ag Ed department to recommend graduates to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for certification. Graduates from the Ag Ed program at ABAC who are presented to the Commission may become certified to teach middle and high school agriculture courses throughout the state of Georgia.
The Ag Ed program is one of the largest at ABAC, with nearly 140 students enrolled in the program according to a press release by ABAC’s Marketing and Communications department on May 17, 2018. A large group of Ag Ed students will begin student teaching in the spring of 2019, and the School of Ag hopes that the first accredited class of Agriculture Educators will graduate in May of 2019.
Dahlia Sutliff is an Ag Ed major and chairperson for Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority. She is one of the students whose future has been impacted by this new accreditation. She stated that “the four-year Ag Ed program allows me to continue to further my education without having to transfer from the place that has become my home away from home, [ABAC].”
She also explained the new accreditation saying that “the certification means that ABAC is now able to recommend Ag students for fully qualified teaching positions. After completing the four-year program, graduates are fully qualified to teach in any area or subject in middle and secondary education, but most importantly, agriculture education.” Dahlia plans to graduate from the Ag Ed program in 2020 and hopes to find a job teaching agriculture following graduation.
Because there is a need for more Ag teachers in the state of Georgia, ABAC is also opening up the agriculture education certification opportunity to other majors.
According to a press release by ABAC’s Marketing and Communications department on May 17, 2018, “The Georgia Professional Standards Commission also approved a certification only option that will allow students who complete bachelor’s degrees in other areas to return to ABAC for two semesters to obtain certification in Agricultural Education.”
This additional option will open up the field of Agriculture Education to other students who are not Ag Ed majors but interested in receiving education certification. The new Ag Ed certifications will allow ABAC graduates to have the tools necessary to compete for jobs with the qualifications required.
The Ag Ed program at ABAC has continued to grow, and with these new accreditations, ABAC’s Ag Ed program, and the agriculture industry in the state of Georgia will be better able to educate the youth about the importance of agriculture and Ag education.