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New degree prepares students for sustainability careers

August 15, 2011 12:00AM

Beginning this fall, students at Pittsburg State University will have a new degree option. Developers say the new degree, a bachelor of integrated studies with an emphasis in sustainability, society and resource management, will put graduates in a position to help solve some of the nation's most difficult and most important problems.

Dr. Jim Triplett, a University Professor in the Department of Biology, said the new degree is an interdisciplinary approach that combines skills and knowledge from biology, communication, geography and social sciences.

"More and more cities, agencies and organizations are looking for people with interdisciplinary skills to direct and oversee their sustainability efforts," Triplett said.

Graduates of this program, according to Triplett, will work in those areas where ecological, social and political issues intersect. It is an area, he said, where conflict can easily arise over the management of limited resources, which is one reason why the program includes communication and social sciences components.

The new degree program, in addition to standard general education requirements, includes 15 hours of selected coursework in each of the departments of Biology, Communication and Social Sciences. It also requires courses in macroeconomics, technical and professional writing and presentation skills.

Triplett said students were showing keen interest in the new degree program, even before it was formally approved by the Board of Regents.

"This is a good example of the ways in which we are preparing students for problems that haven't been created yet," Triplett said.

©2011 Pittsburg State University