Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College Has New Major

Daniel Cooper Education, Florida

Florida Southern College
Over 500 plant varieties are grown year-round in Florida Southern College’s greenhouse.
Photo by Dylan Olive

Florida Southern College (FSC) in Lakeland will offer a new horticulture, land and resource management major in August for incoming students and current students who want to add a major or switch majors. It consists of 28 credit hours (without general education courses). Sixteen of those hours come from horticulture science, and the rest are business oriented with a focus on environmental issues and land management.

FSC previously offered a citrus and horticultural science major that primarily focused on the science and the production side of agriculture. Biology and chemistry courses were a part of the old major and are not in the new curriculum, so the horticultural science minor (24 credit hours) requires a biology and chemistry course. That offers an option for students who are interested in science rather than business.

Malcolm Manners, professor of citrus science and the program coordinator, initiated the concept of the new major that’s been in development for 2.5 years. He has been at FSC for 42 years as a faculty member in the citrus and horticulture department. He says there needed to be a change with the program before he starts retirement.

“I’m here at least two more years, but the idea there was that it’s a good time to make a change,” Manners says. “I think within the industry, they really wanted more business … As we build the program, hopefully we can add some pure horticulture back into it.”

For the last two years, the department was not accepting any new citrus and horticultural majors in preparation for launching the new major. There are currently seven students in the department because there haven’t been any new horticulture majors recently. In previous years, there were times when the department had more than 75 majors.

“The citrus industry has shrunk a lot in the last few years,” Manners said. “So that has hurt us. Now that this one [major] has opened, we hope to build it back up, hopefully fairly quickly.”

A few courses have been created for the new major that combine/rearrange classes from the previous major. Soil and plant nutrition is one of the added courses and is built from the old soil science and plant nutrition courses. Survey of fruit crops and agricultural field management blends the old tropical and temperate fruits course with the citrus production and business practices course.

FSC is the only college/university with a horticulture department in Florida other than the University of Florida. Warner University in Lake Wales has an agriculture major that blends animal sciences and horticulture. 

Students interested in the new Florida Southern College major may contact the Barney Barnett School of Business for more information.

Source: FSC

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