UW-Madison moves Farm and Industry Short Course program online for next year

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Agricultural Hall, administrative home of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences announced that the Farm and Industry Short Course program will move to an online format for the 2020-21 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school will also be offering fewer classes. FISC program director Jennifer Blazek said they will offer two core online-only courses each semester. Fall courses, which begin in October, will include Business Principles of Agricultural Management and Introduction to Soils, while spring courses include The Business of Agriculture and Agribusiness Feasibility Planning.

"With our approach for the coming year, we can create a high quality and stable learning experience online," Blazek said.

Blazek said the classes will still be effective despite remote learning, and students will still be able to connect with industry experts while enrolled. She also said the course times and formats will be flexible within farming schedules, allowing students to attend live classes and also watch videos.

Applications for the FISC program are due August 1. Those who enroll will also have access to scholarships and loaner laptops from the school. Blazek said she expects the program to move back to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year.

"This was a very difficult decision because in-person learning and on-campus residential experiences have always been a central part of the program," Blazek said. "But with all of the uncertainty, we wanted to provide our students with predictable and flexible learning opportunities wherever they are."