i. Faculty of Agriculture

The Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj (Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-e Karaj) was originally founded in Tehran as the College of Agronomy (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e falāḥat) in 1306 Š./1927 and officially opened three years later, under the directorship of Aḥmad-Ḥosayn ʿAdl, assisted by Moṣṭafāqolī Bayāt and Maḥmūd Fāteḥ (Bahrāmī, pp. 161-62; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, p. 407). In 1319 Š./1940 the name of the school was changed to Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj. The program was full time for three years, and the students’ expenses were paid by the government. All graduates received the equivalent of bachelors’s degrees in agricultural engineering and were employed by the Ministry of Agriculture (Wezārat-e kešāvarzī). From 1309 Š./1930 to 1318 Š./1939 a total of 187 people were graduated, an average of nineteen a year (Table 1).

The College of Agronomy had several short-lived predecessors. The Moẓaffarī School of Agronomy (Madrasa-ye felāḥat-e moẓaffarī) was the first agricultural school in Persia; it was founded in 1318/1900 in Tehran under the direction of a Belgian agricultural expert named Mr. Dascher. The prerequisites for entrance were knowledge of the Persian language and a slight acquaintance with one foreign language. The program was for three years, and in the six years that the school functioned thirty-five people of rural origin were trained. The school was closed for financial reasons at the time of the Constitutional Revolution (q.v.) in 1324/1906 (Bahrāmī, p. 150; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, pp. 406-7). The second Persian agricultural-training school was the Farmers’ School of Karaj (Dabestān-e barzgarān-e Karaj), which was founded at Karaj outside Tehran in 1336/1918 under the direction of the German Hans Scherike. The program was only for two years, and in the first class there were twenty-five graduates. This school was closed in 1301 Š./1922, and in its place the School of Agronomy and Rural Industries (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e felāḥat wa ṣanāyeʿ-e rūstāʾī) was established in Tehran. The prerequisite for entrance to the three-year program was a certificate from a primary school. Three classes, totaling thirty-five people, were graduated before the school was closed in 1306 Š./1927 (Bahrāmī, pp. 161-62; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, p. 407). It was in the expanded facilities of this school that the College of Agronomy was established.

In Esfand 1324 Š./March 1946 the Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj was separated from the Ministry of Agriculture and attached to the University of Tehran. At that time the number of teachers was seventeen. The next year Taqī Bahrāmī was appointed dean; he was succeeded in 1326 Š./1947 by ʿAbbās Dawāčī, who was followed in turn in 1328 Š./1949 by Manṣūr ʿAṭāʾī. One obstacle to growth of the faculty was its policy of providing room and board, which prevented it from accepting more than about thirty students at a time. In 1332 Š./1953 the free room and board was canceled, and thirty-five scholarships were established for students who maintained high grades. As a result, the number of graduates increased from an average of 45 a year in 1329 Š./1950 to 102 a year a decade later and 121 a year in 1349 Š./1970 (Table 1).

The expansion of the faculty in the 1950s was furthered by aid provided under the American Point Four program, including funds for completion of half-finished buildings in 1320 Š./1941, deep wells, facilities for experimentation, agricultural equipment, and granting full-time employment to teachers previously employed only part time; in addition, an American agriculturist, William E. Carroll, collaborated in Tehran with the associate-dean Rūḥ-Allāh Farzāna, an engineer, to prepare and implement a master plan for the faculty. Other Point Four aid involved paying the salaries of five professors from the School of Agriculture at the University of Utah to teach at the faculty in Tehran.

In 1334 Š./1955 Moḥammad-Ḥasan Mahdawī Ardabīlī was appointed dean of the faculty. In 1335 Š./1956, with the assistance of Carroll, he compiled and implemented a new curriculum, extending the three-year program to four years. In the same year the number of scholarships reached 140, and women were accepted as students for the first time. The first two years of the program were devoted to the basic sciences and some additional courses, including botany, entomology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, meteorology, statistics, geology, village health, fundamentals of economics, a foreign language, general agriculture, general horticulture, general animal husbandry, and forestry. In the final two years students were divided among ten more specialized departments (gorūh): general agriculture, agronomy and improvement in seeding, horticulture, animal husbandry, forestry, irrigation and cultivation, plant diseases, geology, agricultural equipment, and village industries. In 1345 Š./1966 forestry was transferred to the Faculty of Forestry (Dāneškada-ye jangal-dārī), renamed in 1350 Š./1971 as the Faculty of Natural Resources (Dāneškada-ye manābeʿ-e ṭabīʿī), and subsequently courses on agricultural economics and agricultural propagation were added to the curriculum.

Beginning in 1332 Š./1953 the faculty published the quarterly Našrīya-ye taḥqīqāt-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī, in which members of the teaching staff published their research; in 1346 Š./1967 the title was changed to Būltan-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-e Karaj and again in 1356 Š./1977 to Našrīya-ye ʿelmī o fannī-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān.

A graduate program was instituted in 1350 Š./1971, and each department accepted graduate students on the basis of entrance examinations. By 1369 Š./1990 the teaching staff of the faculty had grown to 110 people, including seventeen full professors, twenty associate professors, thirty-two assistant professors, and forty-one instructors.

Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

T. Bahrāmī, Tārīḵ-e kešāvarzī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1330 Š./1951.


Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 2, pp. 140-142