Students interested in earning an associate’s degree in the agricultural sciences have a brand new opportunity at Sauk Valley Community College.
Sauk has partnered with the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) to offer ACES ACCESS, an innovative collaborative initiative that will offer a state-wide Associate of Science degree in Agriculture. Sauk students will pay regular Sauk tuition, not U of I tuition for these ACES courses. Students will earn credits from Sauk, which may be transferred to Illinois or other four-year institutions for those going on to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“This partnership will give Sauk students access to faculty and classes from one of the nation’s premiere colleges of agriculture,” said Dr. Donald Pearl, Sauk’s academic vice president.
According to information from ACES, ACES ACCESS was developed to expand the range of agriculture courses that community colleges can offer students, with a focus on assisting colleges that are challenged by declining financial resources and faculty. Introductory courses will be available in animal sciences, crop production, horticulture, soils, among other fields of study.
Beginning this fall, Sauk will offer four introductory agricultural science courses through the U of I. Students will attend these courses on campus at Sauk, which will be taught online via distance learning by U of I faculty. Some ACES ACCESS courses will require completion of hands-on laboratory and field experiences. These courses will include one or two weekend sessions at the U of I’s Champaign-Urbana campus. Other general education requirements for the program can be taken from Sauk faculty.
There are no specific prerequisites for this program; however, all students must have completed all developmental reading, English, and/or math courses prior to registering for the agricultural classes. Registration for ACES ACCESS courses will be completed through Sauk’s Office of Admissions.
Other Illinois community colleges are participating in ACES ACCESS. While providing a unique opportunity that includes access to U of I faculty and facilities, this initiative pools resources and students from across the state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 48,000 jobs are available each year in agriculture and more than 300 agricultural careers are available globally. The U of I’s ACES offers students 10 undergraduate programs with 39 different concentrations.