Ken Odde’s Update on KSU College of Ag

(Sam Capoun) Good morning and welcome to AGam in Kansas. I’m Sam Capoun and today we’re with Dr. Odde. Now, Dr. Odde, K-State, the College of Agriculture, is a pretty big thing at K-State, so tell us about that. (Dr. Ken Odde) Well, the College of AG is certainly one of the top colleges in the country in agriculture. Agriculture has always been a big emphasis at Kansas State University. We’re a very agricultural state and in my department, we’re specifically interested in animal agriculture, animal agriculture and the food industry, so that’s where we put our emphasis in our department. (Sam) Tell me about the students in the College of AG at K-State. (Dr. Odde) Well, if I can, I’ll go to kind of our department because we just have new information on our students and student numbers. But every fall we get our official enrollment numbers on the 20th day of the semester. That happened to be this past Monday, so we got our official numbers. We have 1,234 undergraduate students in Animal Sciences and Industry. That’s either a record or a near record in the Animal Science major, which is most of our students. We went over a thousand students in the Animal Science major this fall. That’s the number one major in terms of enrollment at Kansas State University. (Sam) Now, what does this say about K-State and the faculty and professors? (Dr. Odde) I think if you really ask yourself the question, “Why do students come to Kansas State University?”, I would argue the number one reason they come is because we have quality faculty. We have quality faculty who are experts in their field but that’s not even as important as something else. The other thing is, they care about students and they take care of students, they’re great advisers, they’re great teachers, they support the students and the student clubs and organizations by being advisers. They coach judging teams, they supervise internships, they supervise undergraduate research. It’s really the faculty who are the primary reason that our enrollment is as strong as it is. (Sam) What are you guys doing as far as looking into the future to continue to have one of the highest numbers in the nation? (Dr. Odde) I contend that the single most important thing is to continue to have high-quality faculty that care about students. When we have openings and we get an opportunity to hire, we make sure that’s an important criteria for doing that. The other thing now that’s really important is that we keep our curriculum relevant so that we are in fact on that cutting edge so our students are coming here, they’re learning the information, the knowledge that really is going to be beneficial to them in their futures. That’s really important as well. One of the things we take a lot of pride in, and today we’re out here at Stocker Day, is our faculty and other people bringing current relevant knowledge and information to our producers in the livestock industry. That engagement with producers is also how we stay relevant. (Sam) Another aspect is the research right? A lot of kids like to know about the research and what’s going on. (Dr. Odde) Absolutely. One of the programs of emphasis now is undergraduate research. We’re trying to get a lot more of our students an undergraduate research experience. We think that’s really beneficial to them. One of the reasons we think it’s beneficial is it really advances their critical thinking skills and we think that’s important as well because it’s a complex world we’re moving into. The better we are at deciphering the information that is put in front of us, the better we are at assessing the value of the information, the truthfulness of the information, the more valuable that person is going to be to an employer and in society in general. (Sam) I couldn’t agree with you more Dr. Odde and I also couldn’t agree more that K-State is one of the best AG schools in the country. (Dr. Odde) Very good. (Sam) Thanks for joining us today. (Dr. Odde) You bet. My pleasure.

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