Clark State Community College and the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) National Center of Excellence have teamed up to offer precision agriculture as part of the VESTA learning curriculum.
“The Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance is the premier grape-growing and wine-making education program in the country,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “Clark State's expertise in precision agriculture offers VESTA a unique addition to the curriculum that is a direct response to industry needs.”
VESTA is a national grape and wine education program that includes online instruction; instructor guided education from industry professionals; and hands-on experience under the guidance of an experienced mentor at a vineyard or winery. VESTA is designed for the student within the United States or around the world.
“The new affiliate relationship between Clark State Community College and the VESTA National Center provides a tremendous opportunity for the VESTA program to meet its mission of providing our students access curriculum that includes advances in scientifically-based practices and technologies,” said Michelle Norgren, director of the VESTA National Center. “Embedding digital learning modules focused on remote sensing, GIS and UAV technologies will enhance the existing rigorous VESTA curriculum.”
VESTA operates under a grant from the National Science Foundation and is an alliance between the industry and two-year colleges and universities. Clark State is now 1 of more than 20 partner schools in 16 states. VESTA offers the option of a certificate upon completion, or students can earn an Associate of Applied Science with the addition of 30 general education credit hours.
“The advantage of being a member of the VESTA family is the built-in collaborations and network of partners,” said Norgren.
Clark State will offer three precision agriculture course electives for VESTA students beginning in the fall of 2016. The course options will include: Introduction to GIS and Cartography, Introduction to UAS and Remote Sensing.
Richard Sykes, assistant dean of business and applied technologies, said the partnership with VESTA allows Clark State to provide a quality education to students from around the world.
"Clark State is excited to share a portion of its cutting-edge precision agriculture/geospatial curriculum,” said Sykes. “Not only with the local community, but now, thanks to the VESTA memorandum of understanding, to students from all over the country and worldwide.”