U of I Ag Engineering takes on new name

Urbana—The University of Illinois Department of Agricultural Engineering, recently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, now has a new name. It is called the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

“Agricultural and Biological Engineering more accurately reflects the increased biological emphasis in our programs,” said Loren Bode, head of the department. “It better represents what we do.”

Programs that combine biological and environmental concerns to meet the needs for food and agriculture have been a part of the department’s curriculum for years, Bode said. However, there has been a gradual shift to a greater emphasis on biological engineering. For example, the department is now conducting studies to develop new food products with high nutritional or pharmaceutical value and also has a project to convert animal waste into crude oil.

Bode believes the name change will encourage increased cooperation with the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering, allowing both departments to move toward a more enhanced biological emphasis.

“It’s also important to remain competitive with our peer departments nationwide,” Bode noted, “and this name change will allow us to be competitive for the most prestigious national research grants.”

Bode added that the updated name will enhance the department’s ability to attract the very top national and international students into the graduate and undergraduate programs.

“With increasingly larger percentages of students being recruited from non-rural areas,” said Bode, “students tell us that the biological aspects of our curriculum are more recognizable and easier to explain to parents, colleagues and the lay public.”

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