The Master of Science in Agronomy distance education program was developed primarily as a result of a 1995 survey of Iowa State University alumni from the College of Agriculture. The majority of persons responding to the survey indicated a need for a flexible, integrated, advanced degree program in agronomy to advance themselves professionally and personally.
The program admitted 15 students in fall 1998 to pilot test our courses and to evaluate them critically before open enrollment opportunities. The feedback from these hand-picked individuals was critical to the quality of the program presently. Significant changes were incorporated from their input.
The courses were developed sequentially to keep ahead of the pilot group of students. The first courses were offered in fall 1998. The capstone courses in the program were taught for the first time in the spring of 2001, and that same spring saw the program’s first graduating class.
Since then, the program has grown and expanded, from the admission of the 100th student in the spring of 2001, to the 200th in the spring of 2005. The courseware has undergone multiple redesigns, and improvements have been made in response to student evaluations. In addition, the efforts of faculty, staff, and administrators have been recognized with several awards.