One of the university’s oldest programs, UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course has been offering Wisconsin’s future farmers cutting-edge techniques during the non-growing season, November to March...I think this type of program makes eminent sense. For about ten years I taught at a two-year technical college in Kentucky, and I'm confident our graduates made as important a contribution to the welfare and productivity of the state as the four-year graduates from the University of Kentucky.
After 125 years, it still has a place in today’s modern university, UW-Madison administrators say. When the Short Course began in 1885, it was the first strictly agricultural course in the state. Then, tuition and board was just $65, students didn’t need a high school diploma to attend, and the course was considered popular when 20 young men signed up...
Students say one advantage to the Short Course is that the abbreviated semester allows students who come from farms to remain there during the busy growing season. That’s important, especially for students who come from family farms.
“I can stay at home during the cropping season,” said Scott Felten, 19, of St. Cloud, 20 miles east of Fond du Lac. “That way they don’t miss my help as much.”
Except for a required communications class, Short Course students don’t have the same requirements as other undergraduates. Instead, the program offers practical lessons in production agriculture: hands-on courses in subjects like crop and soil management, meat animals and dairy farm management.
The students don’t need to meet UW-Madison’s increasingly rigorous admissions standards: About 60 percent of the students were in the bottom half of their high school class. Some go on to get a four-year degree, but most attend for a year or two to get a certificate...
11 February 2010
For 125 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has offered "short courses" for ag students