Louisiana Tech launches certificate program in rural development
Louisiana Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences and Rural Development Center has launched a unique post-baccalaureate certificate program in rural development. Approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the twelve-hour certificate offers courses focusing on economic development theory, grants and grant writing, international trade, conducting business over the internet, and relating geographic information systems to economic development. According to Aaron Lusby, assistant professor of agricultural business and director of the Rural Development Center, those who complete this program will be able to go back to their communities with improved skills in grant writing, strategic planning, community development and economic development. “Rural development incorporates more than just trying to attract a factory. It also includes quality of life for residents such as parks, transportation, and social interaction.” Although the program is open to anyone meeting admission requirements, the program is tailored to professionals who have rural development duties or who would like to enhance their resumes to include skills in the available subject areas. Courses will be offered online beginning July 12. “Graduates of the program can use their skills to help their communities grow economically and also improve quality of life through their understanding of the issues that face rural communities and how to apply tools from their training to help their communities deal with those issues,” said Lusby. The U. S. Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge program has provided grant funding to Louisiana Tech for the development of the certificate program. Lusby says that, to his knowledge, this type of program is unique within the state of Louisiana and is perhaps one of only a few in the country. “While someone could probably find a workshop or seminar on rural development, at the end, they might get a piece of paper that says they completed the seminar. Completers of this program will have a permanent notation on their official transcripts from Louisiana Tech that they have a certification in rural development.” For more information, contact Dr. Aaron Lusby at the Department of Agricultural Sciences and the Rural Development Center at 318-257-2451. Program details are also available on the Rural Development Center website located at www.latech.edu/rural_development.