UPR Mayagüez launches online master’s degree on Agricultural Economics
The University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus (RUM, in Spanish) announced the availability of its first online master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, under the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The degree received the approval of the Puerto Rico State Department’s Board of Postsecondary Institutions and the UPR’s Governing Board. The milestone positions the RUM “as the only institution on the island and the Caribbean to have a distance education curriculum in the important discipline of Agriculture,” school officials said.
The 30-credit curriculum was developed by Dr. Julio César Hernández-Correa, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, attached to the Agricultural Experiment Station, in collaboration with the Center for Distance Education Resources (CREAD, in Spanish), directed by Dr. José Ferrer López.
“It’s a step for the internationalization of the University of Puerto Rico and, mainly, to serve other markets such as Latin America and the Hispanic United States. In our Department we’re very happy that we’re finally seeing the result of all the work done to achieve it,” said Hernández-Correa.
The initiative to develop the curriculum began five years ago, under the leadership of Dr. Raúl E. Macchiavelli, dean and director of the RUM’s Agricultural Sciences department.
To get it done, Dr. Gladys González, as a co-investigator, got a $150,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an entity under the US Department of Agriculture, with a proposal titled “Developing a high quality human capital in agrobusiness through long distance education program.”
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture granted another $150,000 for the proposal titles “Consolidating premier master’s in science program in agriculture economics,” whose main researcher was Dr. Alwin-Jiménez, and Hernández-Correa, as co-investigator.
With the funding, school officials were able to develop the master’s degree, by dedicating time to prepare the materials, record the classes, and have the support of the teaching assistants, in addition to obtaining equipment — mainly computers and tablets — among others.
Some 250 classes have been recorded, some of which are already available on YouTube, school officials explained.
This master’s degree is mainly aimed at people who have completed bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Sciences and Business Administration.