Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (Agricultural Education Concentration) Major Guide for 2011-2012

What is Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

The Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC) degree in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources provides an opportunity for students to complete concentrations in five different areas – Agricultural Education, Agricultural Extension Education, Agricultural Leadership, Agricultural Communications and Agriculture Sciences (that allows a student to earn a minor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources). These concentrations prepare graduates for careers in both formal and non-formal education. Completion of the Agricultural Education concentration leads to certification by the Tennessee Department of education and a license to teach agriculture in one of Tennessee’s public schools and is also transferable to other states.  Completion of the Agricultural Extension concentration prepares students for employment as Extension Agents with UT Extension or in many of the other state Extension systems throughout the country. The completion of the Agricultural Leadership concentration prepares students for careers in organizational outreach, human resources, management, governmental relations, strategic planning, organizational training, management consulting, community development, political officials and many other business related fields. Completion of the Agricultural Science concentration with a minor in College of Agriculture and Natural Resources provides students with a background in soil science, animal science, plant science, food science, and agriculture business. Completion of the Agricultural  Communications concentration provides students with written and oral communication skills and prepares students to communicate in meaningful and effective ways about science, agriculture and nature, while also preparing them for careers in agricultural and scientific industries, agencies and operations that include scientific writing, agricultural promotion and consulting, and agricultural planning and assessment.

Career Opportunities in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Graduates find employment in very diverse fields, including:
Agricultural education teacher, Agricultural Extension agent, Loan agent/director, Sales representative, Education specialist, Field representative, Peace Corps volunteer, Agricultural journalist, Farm manager, News Reporter, Internet Manager / Staff Writer, Communications Consultant, Law, News Editors, Sales Consultant, Natural Resources Conservation, Supervisors, Sales, Marketing, Program Director, Crop Consultant, Business or Sales Manager, Broadcasting, Public Relations, International Development, Freelance Communication, Directors of Non-profit organizations.

Salary Trends in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

National assessments project that within the next decade, the demand for food, agriculture and natural resources graduates will exceed the available supply by 4 to 10 percent.  Salaries are competitive with many other professional fields.

High School Preparation

Should I consider ALEC?
Do you. . .

  • Enjoy working with children or adults in educational settings?
  • Have an interest in agriculture and natural resources?
  • Want to educate people about agriculture?
  • Want to enter a job market that encompasses a broad array of opportunities?
  • Want to aid in the growth of individuals both personally and professionally?
  • Want to make a difference in the lives of people and your community?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should consider ALEC!

How to Major in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

The Agricultural Education Concentration prepares students to meet teacher certification requirements for agricultural education in Tennessee public schools. The wide array of course choices for students in the Agricultural Education concentration include plant sciences, food science and technology, forestry, wildlife and fisheries, biosystems engineering technology, animal science, agricultural economics, and environmental and soil sciences. In addition to a variety of course offerings, the Agricultural Education concentration offers opportunities for students to explore agriculture by completing a student teaching internship in a Tennessee high school.  Students also have the opportunity to complete their student teaching internship in Australia. Once course requirements are met and a student teaching internship is complete, teacher certification is obtained in collaboration with the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

The Agricultural Extension Concentration emphasizes the leadership, management and educational skills necessary to work in the Extension services in the United States. County and state Extension services work with local governments, community leaders, families and individuals to address problems and issues and help improve people’s lives. Extension is engaged in a broad range of educational programs in agriculture, natural resources, community resource development, nutrition, health, family issues, lawn and garden, and youth development. An Extension agent is a generalist in agriculture and natural resources or family and consumer sciences who plans and delivers non-formal educational programs for local citizens and community groups. An Extension agent must have an understanding of community needs, educational program planning and the non-formal learner.

The Agricultural Leadership Concentration is designed for students who want to develop their leadership skills and pursue careers in government, youth organizations, business/industry, international environments and leadership positions within the community.  Students will learn how to work effectively in small groups and teams, develop interpersonal and intrapersonal communication skills, have a deep understanding of the classical figures in leadership, and learn how to resolve conflict in an effective manner.  In addition, students will study the area of leadership and complete a leadership internship.  Students majoring in Agricultural Leadership will be well prepared to enter the workforce in a leadership position.

The Agricultural Communication Concentration
If you enjoy studying all aspects of agriculture but prefer to work in communications, it . Students will complete a variety of courses from journalism, public relations, electronic media, radio broadcasting, and web design.  In addition, students will also complete a variety of agricultural courses to assist with their agricultural knowledge base.  Students learn how to effectively communicate and write so they can relate and promote agriculture to stakeholders.  Students majoring in Agricultural Science with a minor in Communication and Information will be prepared to write for publication, broadcasting, radio production, and web design.

The Agriculture Science Concentration is designed for students who want a broad, general background in agriculture and natural resources. Student will  take courses in a variety of areas, such as science, economics, business and education. You also learn about the relationship between agriculture and consumers. Often, agricultural science programs cover soil science, animal health, business communications, and management, commodities, finance and plant science. Graduates in these fields have opportunities to help solve challenges related to the food versus fuel debate, the health of ecosystems, gas exploration, biofuels and other renewable energy production, use of technology in farming and food manufacturing, invasive species, sustainability, emerging diseases that affect people, animals, and plants, and many other issues.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Tennessee 4-H clubs have continually produced national winners in project competition, and Tennessee has one of the largest 4-H memberships in the nation. A collegiate 4-H chapter is active at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Students in the program have the opportunity to become members of the Collegiate FFA. This organization promotes the development of scholarships, leadership and cooperative qualities through agricultural activities.
The Philip Morris USA internship program provides prospective Extension agents the opportunity to observe and participate in a dynamic county Extension programs.
Several program-specific scholarships are available to students choosing to major in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.

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Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
AGNR 100 or ALEC 101 1
AGNR 290 3
Biology 101-102, or 111-112 8
ENGL 101, 102 6
MATH 113 and MATH 115 6
ECON 201 4
ALEC 102 3
Environmental & Soil Science 120 or 220 3
Critical Courses: BIOL 101-102, ENGL 101-102, MATH 113-115, ALEC 101  
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
ALEC 201 1
ALEC 211 3
AGEC 212 3
Environmental & Soil Science 210 4
CHEM 100-110, or 120-130 8
Animal Science 280 3
PLSC 220 or 221, and 230 6
Arts and Humanities Elective 3
Critical Courses: ALEC 201, 201, 211; AREC 201, 212; ESS 210  
Junior Year Credit Hours
ALEC 345 3
EPP 313 or EPP 321 3
Cultures and Civilizations Elective 3
Psychology 110 3
PLSC 250 3
Biosystems Engineering & Technology 202 & 452 6
Forestry, Wildlife, & Fisheries or WFS Elective 3
Educational Psychology 401 3
Special Education 402 3
Critical Courses: ALEC 240, 345; EPP 313  
Senior Year Credit Hours
ALEC 434 3
ALEC 440 3
ALEC 240 3
Animal Science 381 3
Arts and Humanities Elective 3
ALEC 435 and 436 12

For More Information

Dr. Carrie Ann Stephens
Dr. Bryan Patterson
Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications
320 Morgan Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-7371


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.