The following is next in our series delving into colleges and universities that offer programs devoted to turfgrass management, turfgrass science, and related disciplines. In this edition, we examine the Turf Management program at Delaware Valley University.
Delaware Valley University
Located in Doylestown, Pa., Delaware Valley University is known for its innovative use of experiential learning. That approach began in 1896, when scholar, educator and activist Joseph Krauskopf founded the National Farm School based on the idea of “science with practice” — the combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. Today, as Delaware Valley University, the institution offers 28 undergraduate majors in the natural and agricultural sciences, business, and humanities; more than seven master’s degrees; and a doctoral degree.
Delaware Valley University (DelVal) is the only small, private university that offers a 4-year degree in Turf Management. Facilities include turf research plots, putting green, athletic fields, and acres of lawn turf. Small classes make it easy to hop into a van and visit some of the 70 golf courses less than a one-hour drive from campus. Recent graduates work at golf courses, professional sports fields, sod farms, and lawn care companies.
Doug Linde, Ph.D., professor of Turf Management heads the program, teaches various turf courses, conducts turf research, and also coaches the NCAA Division III golf team. According to Linde, there are currently 28 students enrolled in the Turf Management program, and that number has increased each of the past three years.
“Our niche is helping average students in high school that want a career in turf management to get through college academically with two to three summers of work experience,” said Linde.
Students have the same advisor for all four years, and the professors are academic and career advisors.
DelVal first began offering its Turf Management major in 1997. According to Linde, Delaware Valley University students historically got into the turf industry as Agronomy majors, but in the late 1990s, new courses were developed, and DelVal began to offer its Turf Management major.
“Over the years I have tried to make a network of alumni, visit the alumni, visit employers and try to build the program and build our reputation,” said Linde. “The thing that has really changed in the industry is the students. They come in with different learning styles and expectations. That makes it exciting. It makes me have to change and keep up to date.”
According to Linde, Turf Management students are often more energized after their first summer of work experience.
“At that point, they are really easy to teach because they can envision themselves become a golf course superintendent or sports turf manager because they worked for one,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue to grow and provide more graduates to the employers.”
For more information about the Delaware Valley University Turf Management program, visit https://delval.edu/programs/undergraduate-majors/turf-management-bs