UNT Dallas and El Centro College are partnering for a U. S. Department of Education HSI STEM grant-funded project. Together, UNT Dallas and El Centro will help bridge students across skill deficiencies and give them the opportunity to participate in the new transfer-bound STEM Learning Communities in Urban Agriculture and Resources Management.
As a part of the grant, UNT Dallas will develop new coursework such as Ecology, Introduction to Urban Agriculture, Soil Science, and Plant Sciences. Dr. Glenda Balas, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the Principal Investigator for the Urban Agriculture Project.
Over a 5-year period, the grant provides UNT Dallas with $1.3 million for the creation of lab facilities and lecture classrooms to facilitate the incoming student population. An outdoor agronomy lab will be created, along with a greenhouse and the purchase of renewable resource technological equipment. The new laboratory and lecture spaces will house agricultural labs and be compatible with emerging renewable technologies.
James Maguire, UNT System’s vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction and chief architect, has played a significant role in UNT Dallas’ ability to efficiently and effectively plan for these new facilities. Maguire attended a planning meeting in early December 2016 that helped the UNT Dallas team tie the grant directly to the ongoing construction and master plan. He helped guide where gardens could be best located, along with necessary storage space.
UNT Dallas anticipates accepting the first students into the program in Fall 2017.