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About the Department

The newly formed Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education combines the expertise of many different disciplines within the College of Ag Sciences. We are the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Extension Education and Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.

Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Founded in 1923, the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology in the Penn State College of Ag Sciences joins two distinct, yet closely related social science disciplines in common purpose. Strengthened by the individual and collaborative contributions of economists and sociologists, the department excels in research, teaching and outreach focusing in four interrelated areas: agriculture and food; environment and natural resources; community, regional, and international development; and population processes and change.

Our focus is in four main areas:

  • Agriculture and Food
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Community, Regional, and International Development
  • Population Processes and Change

Department of Agricultural and Extension Education

The Department of Agricultural Education started with a course in teacher training in agriculture in the year 1910-11, with Thomas I. Mairs, professor of agricultural education, in charge. A four-year teacher-preparation curriculum was initiated the following year. From its inception, the department functioned in three areas: resident education, research, and service (outreach). (Taken from the History of the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education.).

Our vision is in preparing formal and nonformal educators for the agricultural sciences, youth and family education, and leadership and communications. Our graduates go on to develop contemporary curricula and programs, conduct high-quality research and development activities, and disseminate new knowledge in these areas.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities through contemporary undergraduate and graduate education, research, and outreach.