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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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High school students to benefit from NMSU agricultural class via Internet

LAS CRUCES - Thirteen high school students will be getting a head start on earning an agriculture degree from New Mexico State University when school starts in August.

Students from San Jon, Roy and Des Moines school districts will participate in a unique partnership between NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics and Clovis Community College where students will be enrolled in dual credit classes and participate in the college class via interactive television (ITV) from their high school.

This will be the first time concurrent classes in agriculture are offered to high school students.

"We've established this unique partnership to give high schools a broader selection of concurrent classes to encourage them to continue their education after graduation," said Jim Libbin, College of Agriculture and Home Economics' interim assistant dean of academics.

San Jon High School has offered ITV duel credit classes since the 1990s where students earn high school and college credit for select classes. This is the first year college course work has been available in agriculture.

"This is a great opportunity for the students," said Stacy Kent, administrative assistant for the school district that has 173 total students from kindergarten through high school, who helped the districts eight students enroll in the class. "We have a strong agriculture program and this makes it even better."

The high schools have arranged the students' classes so they will take Ag Econ 236 - agribusiness management principles from NMSU professor Jerry Hawkes.

"This class is a basic introduction into agricultural economics. It will give the students an orientation to agricultural supply businesses, farm and ranch production, food markets, food processing and distribution, and food consumption," Hawkes said. "It will be as good as sitting in a Gerald Hall classroom as the students at both ends of the Internet link interact in the class discussion."

NMSU is offering the classes through an Internet bridge established by Clovis Community College's extended learning department that offers duel credit enrollment classes to students in Clayton, Corona, Des Moines, Elida, Ft. Sumner, Grady, House, Logan, Moquero, Roy, San Jon, Santa Rosa and Vaughn.

Jean Morrow, director of the extended learning program, said while six students are needed to make an ITV class, not all have to be from the same school district.

Also, "because we informed the school districts of the NMSU class offering during the spring, the schools were able to adjust the school's schedules so students will attend the NMSU class on Monday and Wednesday and their high school ag class on Tuesday and Thursday," Morrow said.

While the students fulfill their high school course requirements, they will also be earning college credit for the course and may apply it to their degree work when they attend NMSU.

Spring 2009, students will be able to enroll in an animal science class taught by Tim Ross, NMSU's animal science interim department head. For more information about the program, students in the school districts served by Clovis Community College's extended learning department should contact their counselors.