Truman State University’s agriculture department has been experiencing changes because of a shrinking staff, and some students wonder what that means for their experience throughout their major.
According to Michael Seipel, agricultural science department chair, there are currently five faculty members within the department after two resignations preceding the last academic year. Seipel said the department is working on filling those positions with two new tenure-track faculty members.
Seipel said the applications are available, and he hopes to invite possible hires to campus for interviews early next semester. He invites students to be part of the open forums, providing them with more autonomy in the process.
Senior Lance Griffith, an agricultural science major, said he has enjoyed his time at Truman thus far. Griffith said the department has been very transparent with the issues but needs to be clearer regarding the process they will be going about to remedy the situation.
Griffith said the changes occurring in the agriculture department could greatly affect the return of agricultural science majors. “If they don’t get these new professors in, it would be a harsh reality going forward.” Griffith thinks the current lineup of professors juggle too much with their teaching jobs and other jobs outside of Truman. Griffith enjoys the department and the intimacy and hopes the staffing issues get resolved.
Freshman agricultural science major Cora Wood said she was not aware of the changes to the department staffing. She said there are similar majors she could enjoy if she or other students don’t find themselves particularly enjoying the future shift in faculty. Wood said, “If I don’t think it is a good choice for me to be majoring in [agricultural science] anymore, there’s always environmental science.”
Sophomore Shelby Crawford also majors in agricultural science and said she would like the line of communication between faculty and students to be clearer. Crawford said, “I wouldn’t have taken my animal reproduction class if I had known it would be online.” She acknowledged that the class would have been in-person, but the professor resigned after she had already enrolled in the course. “I’m just worried for my next two years here. You can’t learn everything you need over Zoom,” Crawford said.