Olds College Horticulture Program Under Review


By Jerry Rousseau

This past June, Olds College officials circulated a memo amongst faculty and staff stating School of Environment programs were under review including Horticulture offerings.  The review comes on the heels of an Alberta government budget cutback which reduced the college’s program government funding by 7% and includes all programs listed in the School of Environment related to the Horticulture industry: LGAP, Environmental Horticulture, Production Horticulture, B.App. Science (all three majors), and Turfgrass Management.

An external  consultant has been hired to undertake the review process which will involve engagement of faculty, current and past students and industry.  The study will also take a look at similar programming from across Canada.  The memo stated the review should focus on the following four clear outcomes:

1. Programs are clearly aligned with student demand and interest 2. Programs can meet the needs of the industries being served 3. Programs can propose a unique proposition to differentiate itself within the market of Horticultural training within Canada (Destination programs) 4. Alignment of College resources to sustain the programs offered in 14-15 and beyond

According to Dean of Environment, Karsten Hendrickson, ‘Olds College is moving forward with program delivery and there has been no decision regarding substantive changes yet,” adding “it’s business as usual for now.”  In a phone interview the Dean did say that the college is looking at different models for education delivery while providing skills students need to succeed.

The initial departmental meetings are completed and the consultation process has begun with recommendations expected this fall.  The Western Canada Turfgrass Association has requested to be involved as a stakeholder in the review process.