The Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center in Hermiston could be the home of a new agriculture business program for Eastern Oregon University.
EOU President Bob Davies made that announcement during a town hall session Thursday evening at EOHEC.
“You’re going to see more business classes taught on this campus in the next year,” Davies said. “We’re also going to try something new here: ag business. Ag business is something we’ve wanted to get into for a while, and Hermiston is the center to start building the program.”
EOU administration is working with Jer Pratton to develop an advisory group to begin developing the program to meet needs in Hermiston.
“Basically it would be taking existing education resources we have and knitting them together to meet the needs of the Hermiston area,” EOU Provost Steve Adkison said Friday. “We’re going to start developing some agricultural concentrations in our business area. They don't currently exist.”
Adkison said the program will be developed over the next 18 months. When complete, students will be able to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in agricultural management. Although it will be established in Hermiston, the program will be available to students at EOU’s main La Grande campus and centers in Burns and John Day as well.
During his “state of the university” report, Davies also said EOU is focusing on three degree areas — business, education and preparation for the medical field — and bringing education to students, through programs like Eastern Promise and EOTEC.
“In the future, universities, like Eastern, will need to deliver opportunities to students where they are to meet the needs of the students and the needs of the community,” Davies said.
The college is also working to expand its “Summer Institute” program to Hermiston. The program allows high school students to take up to three classes for college credit at the La Grande campus during the summer. Both Hermiston and Stanfield high schools have long participated in the program.
“We have lots of plans, lots of work,” Davies said. “One of the things we have to remind ourselves of is this is a marathon. It’s not a 50-yard dash. We will continue to grow, but we will never lose that focus on students.”