OAC, Arrell Leaders Profiled in University Affairs Feature


OAC dean Rene Van Acker

Prof. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute, and Rene Van Acker, dean of U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College, spoke with University Affairs magazine about how university agricultural programs are changing with the times.

Van Acker noted that enrolment in agriculture education has begun to grow in recent years in lockstep with Canadians’ growing interest in nutrition, food safety and the environment.

At the same time, agriculture faculties have become “among the most exciting hubs of interdisciplinary collaboration on Canadian campuses,” the article noted.

Prof. Evan Fraser

With a digital revolution under way on the farm, there is much to teach and learn from the technologies that are changing how food is grown, leading to expanded university curriculums that blend agricultural science with other kinds of research.

Food programs now appeal to a wide swath of students interested in global issues of food security and social justice, the article noted, and the creation of  U of G’s Arrell Food Institute, which Fraser founded in 2017, is just one example.

Many changes are afoot in agriculture, but that’s nothing new, said Van Acker.

“This transition has been a long time coming, and a lot of people are just noticing now.”