New environmental studies major approved at Centre
Centre College recently approved a new major in environmental studies that will be available as an option for students in the 2013-14 school year.
The new major will give students the freedom to apply their interest in environmental issues to other subjects.
“We’re very excited about the new major in environmental studies. The major is very interdisciplinary. In addition to a core set of courses, students will also select a focus in one of three tracks: humanities, social studies or natural sciences,” says Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. “Students with a major in environmental studies will complete their degrees by taking a senior seminar incorporating a capstone project that will focus on problem-solving around a particular environmental issue.”
A minor in environmental studies has been offered since 2003, and students have sometimes opted to create self-designed majors in the study of environmental issues. With the major in environmental studies, students will be able to explore their interests in the field more than ever before.
“This student interest was one of the factors leading the committee to suggest that it was a good time to augment the already-existing minor in environmental studies with a major,” Fabritius says. “We are currently in the process of hiring a new full-time faculty member in the environmental studies field. In addition to this new hire, the environmental studies faculty come from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, biology, English, philosophy, economics, sociology, history and chemistry.”
The self-directed nature of the environmental studies major will give students experience and understanding of the subject matter, along with decision-making, which will benefit them greatly beyond Centre.
“Students majoring in environmental studies will be very well-prepared in a variety of fields because of the emphasis on interdisciplinary problem-solving and critical thinking,” says Fabritius. “They will gain practice in using tools from a variety of disciplines to solve problems—a very useful ability. Environmental issues reach into any number of disciplines, industries and occupations.”