Salem offers horticulture bachelor’s degree

Kyle Nelson

The horticulture program at the Salem Campus gives students opportunities in the ever-growing field of green services.

The horticulture program at the Kent State Salem Campus introduced a four-year bachelor’s degree at the beginning of the semester, giving students more

opportunities for a career in the ever-growing field of green services.

Academic Program Director Stan Jones said the horticulture program itself has been in place for almost 20 years. The four-year program, however, just started this year and has already increased in popularity with at least 70 students in the program.

“Right now our enrollment has virtually doubled compared to the past few years,” Jones said. “Part of that is the type of classes we offer and the expansion of

the bachelor’s program.”

The associate’s degree program trains students for careers in landscape management, turf management, tree care, nursery, greenhouse and other related professions. Upon completion of the program, Salem has a career assistance program to help place students in different positions.

Junior horticulture major Paul Snyder, while not yet ready to graduate, is planning on using the career assistance service that the school offers.

“They’re very good at finding work for students, even an internship,” Snyder said. “Several of the classes also have different businesses come in and tell the students what they do and what positions they might have available. (The school) does a good job of helping us network and find different opportunities.”

Despite the sagging economy, the green industry is still hiring students to work in the various fields.

“Jobs are still very strong, despite the economy being slower,” Jones said. “We get a lot of calls for position openings both for full-time jobs and internships. Most all of our students that graduate find work shortly thereafter, so we’re holding our own.”

Tyre Proffer is one of the professors who has helped the students at Salem find success.

“The program is very much directed toward getting people jobs in the green industry,” Proffer said. “Our course is dedicated to that purpose. A lot of our

classes have lab work so students can get more practical application.”

It is that practical application that has helped students succeed.

“Hands on is really a big key,” Jones said. “We have several classes where (the students) don’t sit in a classroom. We go to different locations throughout

Ohio and beyond.

“We also have a wonderful location where students can learn that’s called Draime Estate Botanical Gardens. That’s a (Kent State) site where we do educational

training in horticulture. We send a lot of students out there.”

One of the biggest draws of the program is the relatively low cost of admission compared to other universities.

“It’s a lot cheaper than going to Ohio State University,” Snyder said. “Most of the classes are two days a week so you still have time to work. You can get pretty much the same degree for a lot less.”

The program also draws from all walks of life, giving different students different opportunities.

“It’s a very diverse group,” Proffer said. “We have people who are learning their first trade and people learning their third or fourth. We have people who just got out of high school and people who are 50 years old.”

Kyle Nelson is the regional campuses reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].