Students and faculty working for the improvement of Florida’s agriculture, sustainability and quality of life have achieved top positions in Niche’s 2020 Best Colleges for Agricultural Sciences in America.
UF is the best public university for agricultural sciences in America, according to Niche. The university is ranked No. 2 overall, behind Cornell University, in a list of over 100 public and private agricultural science colleges.
Nicholas Comanici, director of brand marketing for the website, says Niche's college rankings are based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as millions of reviews from current students and alumni.
He said that to be included, the school must present at least 20 bachelor’s degrees in the field annually or have the major represent at least 2.5% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded by the school. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, as self-reported by the colleges.
Charlotte Emerson, director of student development and recruitment with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said the vision for UF/IFAS is to be the premier public college of agriculture and related science.
“A ranking such as this one helps to showcase that we are successfully working toward that vision,” she said.
Emerson said the goals and priorities of UF/IFAS include recruiting and retaining outstanding students, promoting excellence in teaching and producing society-ready graduates.
“We work toward these goals and priorities; not a specific company’s ranking metrics,” she said.
Emerson said the website rankings focus on student experiences and highlight engagement with faculty around the college’s research. UF/IFAS has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios on campus at approximately 11:1.
The focus point in the college is to ensure students gain many experiences outside the classroom before they graduate, Emerson said.
“We’ve found that prior to graduation, 80 percent of our undergraduate students have participated in research, study abroad or internships. One of our current goals is to get that percentage to 100 percent. We work to make sure our students are prepared for whatever their career goals are after graduation,” she said.
Garrett MacGregor, a 20-year-old UF horticultural sciences sophomore, attributes the high ranking to the faculty, staff, clubs and on-campus organizations.
“IFAS has extensions all over the state and works with so many different people giving students like me great opportunities for research,” he said.
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KC Jeong, a UF/IFAS associate professor of animal sciences, and Dr. Klibs Galvao, an associate professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, work to make cow bacteria less resistant to antibiotics. They are funded by a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant.