A student farmer harvesting Kale

For the second year in a row, the Best Global Universities guide published by U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Massachusetts Amherst No. 4 in the comprehensive subject area of Agricultural Sciences for 2021, and first among U.S. universities in that subject area. The rankings consider the top 1,500 universities across 81 countries. 

U.S. News notes that, “These are the world’s best universities for agricultural sciences based on their reputation and research in the field.” The rankings can be viewed at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/agricultural-s…

Agricultural sciences as reviewed for this survey includes a wide range of subjects related to how humans use and develop natural resources for their benefit, including horticulture, food science and nutrition, dairy science and agronomy. At UMass Amherst, several schools, departments and programs contribute to this global reputation. 

In the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), these include the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, the School of Earth & Sustainability (SES), the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), food science, veterinary and animal sciences and environmental conservation. In the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, this includes the nutrition education program. 

CNS Dean Tricia Serio says, “We’re immensely proud of the combined research excellence demonstrated by our faculty and our students, and are pleased to see our programs’ reputations continue to grow around the world. When students select UMass Amherst for their studies, they’re expressing an interest in learning from and doing research with scientists who are dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most vexing agricultural problems.” 

Lynne McLandsborough, chair of the food science department says, “UMass has world-class researchers who continuously strive for scientific innovation and research excellence while solving complex agricultural challenges during the distribution from farm to the consumer. The enthusiasm and positive energy of the graduate and undergraduate researchers contribute to the success of our programs.” 

Wes Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture says, “UMass educational programs and our high-quality research have really put us on the map. Our alumni will certainly tell you that Stockbridge is among the top agricultural programs in the world.” 

The methodology for the subject-specific rankings – which are not of academic majors, departments or specific schools at universities – is based on academic research performance in those subjects. U.S. News explains that it has used “various bibliometric measures, including publications and citations, as well as indicators for global and regional reputation in each specific subject” to arrive at its rankings. 

Several of UMass Amherst’s most highly cited researchers are in departments that fall under the agricultural sciences area: Eric Decker, Hang Xiao and Julian McClements of food science, and Baoshan Xing of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Their impact is an important factor in the global ranking, as is the strong international reputation of the food science department and research contributions of the nutrition department. 

Jody Jellison, director of CAFE and UMass Extension, says, “UMass Extension is committed to providing science-based outreach and agricultural assistance to the Commonwealth. In addition, we are pleased to provide research funding for agricultural and food-related research in several academic departments at UMass Amherst.” 

Director Lisa Sullivan-Werner of the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program agrees, “We are proud to be part of the UMass commitment to integrating agriculture, nutrition science, and nutrition education in order to impact health and well-being in at-risk communities and for low-income individuals. Working in partnership with community agencies, and bringing the latest research results from UMass research to these communities, we are able to shift health disparities through improved food practices.” 

Curt Griffin, chair of the department of environmental conservation and co-director of SES, says, “Wherever there are big, complex issues involving sustainability in the natural and built environments, UMass is there training the next generation of sustainability professionals and scholars, and developing the green workforce to drive a vibrant, equitable, and resilient economy.” 

Rafael Fissore, chair of the veterinary and animal sciences program, says, “We are proud to be associated with so many outstanding departments and programs at UMass that provide such an array of opportunities to our students in food, plant, and animal agriculture. The Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department uses a hands-on approach to teach modern and sustainable husbandry practices and to investigate fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms to improve productivity, fertility and prevent diseases of animals and humans following the concept of One-Health.” 


Read on 

UMass Amherst Agricultural Sciences Again Ranked Among The Top Five in Global Rankings by U.S. News 


Source: Environmental Conservation News