Delaware Valley College has worn many names since its inception in 1896, when it was founded by Rabbi Dr Joseph Krauskopf to teach young Jewish men to become better agriculturalists. It was actually known as the National Farm School for many years, establishing itself as one of the premier instructors of farmers in the country. With majors ranging from the traditional (at least for them), like crop sciences, to the more modern disciplines of business administration and chemistry, DelVal has strived to incorporate advancements and technology, while not giving up on its farming roots.
The campus in Doylestown, Pennsylvania is far cry from the 100 acres and one room it started with, now using almost 600 acres to house its 2300 and growing student body. The school itself is divided into an “urban” side, dedicated to classrooms and the actual university side of things, and a “rural” half that gives hands on agricultural and horticultural teaching in a real farm environment of over 250 acres.
DelVal does indeed offer online courses, using technology to allow for students to continue education during times when getting to campus isn’t an option. Using Blackboard, DelVal offers a variety of online courses each semester, all following the same guidelines as normal classes. These select classes are offered at no additional cost to full time students, though part-time/off-campus students will have to pay a distance learning fee in addition to the normal tuition costs to get their credits.
The main agricultural thrust of many of the courses does demand both online and offline work, with much of the farm work done alongside professionals who use experiential methods to meld theory and practice into an educational whole. While some courses offered can be completed through email and internet communication, there are only a limited number of online courses offered per semester, following the same time frame and expectations as on campus courses. Online students are required to work outside of class just as hard as the students do within and meet the same deadlines throughout the semester that one going to class would be subject to.
DelVal offers over27 majors, with a spectrum that offers everything from one year Certificates in business or technology, to Master’s in education or natural and agricultural resources. In-between are a variety of Bachelor’s degrees, many of them catered to those who aren’t just going into farming, but pre-veterinary students are attracted in large numbers as well (owing to the large on site animal housing).
Though still not a university due to its size, it has never derivated from its desire to combine theoretical and applied learning to produce more complete educational products. Maintaining this high level of excellence in hands on education has led to a passion to produce successful graduates in a multitude of fields that go well beyond crops and equines. Its growth through the years is largely attributable to their unwavering mission to emphasizing getting in and getting your hands dirty as a way to drive home education. Starting as a farm college, they must really know all about getting dirty for a purpose.