UW-River Falls announces new dual degree option, partnership with overseas university

Samantha Hendrickson
Wisconsin State Farmer
Jake Sailer of Sailer’s Food Market and Meat Processing in Elmwood discusses the balancing act between producing new and unique food products while maintaining a reliable supply of successfully branded products.

Students at the University of Wisconsin River Falls have a new dual degree option — and one that could earn them a degree overseas and maybe some international study buddies.

UW-River Falls announced an international food operations manager degree, an undergraduate program that partners with Aeres University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

“I appreciate the support of the Board of Regents in approving our international food operations management program,” said Dale Gallenberg, UW-River Falls dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “The program creates unique and exciting opportunities for students who will receive degrees from UWRF and Aeres University.”

Despite being an ocean apart, students at both universities will study "in sync." UW-River Falls students will spend the full third year of the four-year program in the Netherlands, while Aeres students will spend the full second year of the program in the United States. 

“The unique program will provide students with expertise and experience in the principles of food processing technology and operations management from both international production and marketing perspectives, said Brenda Boetel, a professor of agricultural economics. “Experiential learning is a required part of the curriculum and includes internship, work placement, and independent study courses.”

Food business professionals are in demand, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The department anticipates a strong 10-year growth rate of 11.5% for food business-related jobs in Wisconsin, annual increases of 5.4% in business and financial operations jobs and 17.3% in food scientist and technologist jobs.

UW-River Falls Provost David Travis said that  the international food operations management program responds to this heightened demand for food business professionals, especially to address the reorganization of inputs and supply chain management including the reduction of food waste.

Samantha Hendrickson can be reached at 414-223-5383 or shendrickson@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @samanthajhendr.