New Wright State Lake Campus Food Science Program Meeting Local Needs

Posted On: February 20, 2014

Share with your friends!

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • google+
  • email

According to the United States Bureau of Labor, jobs in the agriculture and food science sector for college graduates are expected to increase by sixteen percent between 2008 and 2018.  Locally, western Ohio is a region with significant agricultural production, food processing, shipping, and support services.  According to Dr. Greg Homan, Lake Campus Agriculture Program Director, focus groups were conducted with area food manufacturers and industry representatives to explore local training needs.  As a result of these listening sessions and visits to area employers a Food Science training program was established at Wright State Lake Campus.

photoTo address local needs, Wright State Lake Campus hired Dr. Courtney Simons as a new faculty member to design and deliver our food science program.  As a result of his efforts and input from local industry representatives, the campus is now offering three options for those seeking training to work within our growing food industry.  A Certificate in Food Systems Management is an entry level one-year program comprised of a mixture of food science and management related coursework preparing existing or future employees in the local food science industry.   An Associate’s Degree in Food Science will provide a broader background for students with a solid technical science foundation preparing them for jobs in testing, evaluation, quality, or management roles.  In addition to a Certificate and Associates Degree, the Lake Campus also offers a Bachelors of Technical and Applied Studies Degree in Food Systems Management.  This balanced program of study is comprised of various food science courses ranging from Food Microbiology and Food Chemistry to Management topics such as Personnel Management, Business Finance, and Leadership.

The Lake Campus not only responded to the feedback from employers as they designed appropriate curriculum, but they also tailored the delivery system to appeal to diverse audiences.  One of the features of the Food Science Certificate and Degree programs offered by the campus is the use of technology to allow busy working adults to enhance their skills through partial distance delivery.   According to Food Science Program Director, Dr. Courtney Simons, “Our Pilot Live Learning System allows us to teach our food science classes live online. Students are able to see the Instructor as well as listen and communicate directly with him or her in real time no matter where they are. This will open huge opportunities for local companies to access our training. Our courses are also very practical. Evening laboratory classes allows students to gain practical experience in our lab after work hours”

A leading industry partner with the Lake Campus Food Science program is Freshway Foods, located in Sidney, Ohio.  According to Tony Arnold, Director of Human Resources at Freshway Foods, “Our people are our most valuable asset.  Our ability to develop talent to its full extent is directly tied to our company brand. Continuing education is critical to making this happen. As part of our strategic talent management program several associates at Freshway are enrolled in the Wright State Food Science program.”

Not only are the food science courses designed for traditional students at the campus, but they are also tailored to allow opportunities for existing employees to upgrade technical and leadership skills in their current jobs.  Amy Marshall, a Zone Manager at Freshway Foods said, “I’m appreciative of the opportunity Freshway has provided me to take Food Science classes at Wright State. The online portion is conducted in a conference room at Freshway and the lab is at the WSU Lake Campus. The classes have been very practical, relevant to the industry, and provide great skills for career development.”

For more information about the Food Science program offered by Wright State University Lake Campus, contact Dr. Courtney Simons at 419-586-0313 or Agriculture Program Coordinator Greg McGlinch at 419-586-0310

Pictured are Food Science Program Participants Jeff Free and Amy Marshall.