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A cow in this undated photo grazes on grass overlooking the Zumwalt Prairie in Wallowa County. Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, is looking to add an agricultural entrepreneurship degree in fall 2021.

LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University plans to offer degrees in agricultural entrepreneurship and in special education pending state approval.

The EOU Board of Trustees on Thursday, Feb. 18, approved the two new degree programs. Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities must give their approvals before Eastern can add the degree offerings.

Tim Seydel, Eastern’s vice president for University Advancement, said he believes there is an excellent chance both degree programs will be in place when fall term begins in late September 2021.

“We are excited,” Seydel said.

Seydel said the agricultural entrepreneurship degree program would give students the in-depth understanding of business management, public policy, science and technology and agriculture they need to work in the agriculture-related business and industry fields. He said companies such as Boise Cascade, Woodgrain and Lamb Weston are among the regional firms looking for students with skills the agricultural entrepreneurship program would develop.

Students would receive their degree from the Eastern’s College of Business.

The special education degree would address a shortage of special education teachers in rural Oregon, Seydel said. The degree would allow students to earn in four years all the credits they need to become licensed special education teachers. Eastern students now need more than four years to become qualified to teach special education.

Seydel said both proposed degrees would fill important voids in Eastern Oregon and showcase how EOU is directly meeting the needs of the region.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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