The Purdue University College of Agriculture and the Vincennes University College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics have signed a transfer agreement to both continue and expand a cooperative agricultural education program that has been in place for nearly six decades.
Students in the VU-Purdue Cooperative Agriculture Transfer Program who complete an Associate of Science degree in agriculture or a related science degree at VU can move to Purdue for the final two years to complete a bachelor's degree.
In February 1957, then-presidents Frederick L. Hovde of Purdue and Isaac K. Beckes of VU agreed to a one-year trial. The program has been offered continuously since, making it one of the oldest such agreements in the nation.
"Purdue Agriculture and Vincennes have a longstanding, collaborative relationship to provide agricultural education," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "The cooperative program envisioned in 1957 by presidents Hovde and Beckes has been successful in all respects, and it was time to revisit the agreement with a focus on the future."
Agreement provisions allow VU students to be treated the same as resident Purdue students entering their junior year in the College of Agriculture. Lower tuition costs, being close to home and attending a smaller university are among the top reasons students choose to begin at VU.
Paul Wilder, dean of VU's College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, said VU gives students a transition experience before making the jump to Purdue.
"The program fills a need for students who are interested in attending Purdue but are not quite ready for such a large campus environment right after high school," he said. "We can help them make that transition. It's important to have these baccalaureate degree options available to our students."
Marcos Fernandez, director of academic programs in agriculture at Purdue, said providing a seamless experience for students is among the many benefits.
"We have an on-site coordinator at Vincennes who also advises students and a staff member at Purdue who oversees transfer students when they get here," he said.
Additionally, all courses in VU's A.S. degree count toward Purdue degree requirements and the Statewide Transfer General Education Core - a set of competencies in areas agreed upon by Indiana's state-supported educational institutions. Fernandez said this saves students time and money by avoiding transferring credits that don't count toward a degree.
"We continue to focus on improving our transfer process in the state with colleagues like Vincennes and increasing our number of transfer students," he said.
Charles Mansfield, Purdue's coordinator on the VU campus, said the curriculum is designed so that courses are equivalent to those at Purdue.
"Students get high-quality agriculture, science and math classes at Vincennes," he said. "It's a great option for students to get through the basics."
VU also draws upon area Purdue Extension resources and the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, which is near the Vincennes campus.
The cooperative arrangement could expand to include use of VU teaching, laboratory and residential facilities for Purdue undergraduate and graduate students in summer educational or research experiences at SWPAC.
VU programs in the agreement are agriculture, agricultural machine systems, environmental and natural resources engineering, food science, forestry and conservation, natural resources and environmental science, and pre-veterinary.