The concept of Agricultural Leadership & Development (ALED) is to provide a major that allows students to study leadership, communication, and the applied sciences of agriculture. Within the major are elective areas for agriculture courses and what we call an Emphasis Area. The Emphasis Area is like a minor and is a combination of courses, chosen by the student and academic advisor, that provide concentrated study in a particular area. Additionally, in the major, several business classes are required as well as courses in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communicatiosn. The Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications courses include leadership theory, models of the change process, methods of teaching adults, multiculturalism in agriculture, and program planning in extension. Students may also elect to participate in an internship.
The students who major in Agricultural Leadership and Development are “people-oriented.” They have interests in a variety of technical divisions including animal agriculture, science, plant agriculture, business, and other areas. ALED students have career aspirations in the following areas: communications/public relations, politics, lobbying for agriculture, extension work, and other similar fields. A few of the students have aspirations to work on farms or ranches. Others are very diverse! For example, one student wants to create and provide human resource training to those in the horse industry. Another student is seeking a position with youth development (boys club, ranches for problem children, camps). And, some students choose related careers such as real estate, banking, or retail sales.
A majority of the ALED students choose to complete an internship. This component is very diverse due to the nature of the students as they select their internship site based in their career goals. The sites are approved by the department and students may be paid or unpaid. The assignments that students complete are to analyze the organization from a leadership and human relations point of view. In other words, the goal for the internship is 1) to allow students to gain some technical expertise and 2) to provide a forum for students to apply their knowledge in leadership and communications to a real-time experience.
Agricultural Leadership and Development provides the students with technical, conceptual, and human relations skills. These are skills that employers continually tell us they are seeking. To date, students who actively seek employment are finding placement in many highly profitable areas.