Clarke University adding new environmental studies major - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Clarke University adding new environmental studies major

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Clarke University in Dubuque announced plans to add an environmental studies major, starting in the fall of 2015.

The major will look at the environment: how humans impact it and how it impacts us.

Environmental studies will be an interdisciplinary program focusing on using the tools of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to solve problems in resource depletion and environmental degradation, all of which impact human welfare.

All students in Clarke's new program will take basic biology, chemistry, economics and sociology, but then each one will chose an emphasis in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities or business and professional programs.

"The manner in which we use the Earth's resources affects our quality of life - both short-term and long-term," Clarke associate professor of biology Andrea Bixler said. "As the population of the Earth grows, it is more important than ever that we be good stewards of the environment."

Clarke University recently opened its Center for Science Inquiry. The creation of the environmental studies major ties into the school's strategic plan, which includes capitalizing on the momentum in sciences brought about by recent events.

Courses in the major will include Introduction to Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology and Environment and Society. The major will include service-learning or other community-based experiences that will help prepare students for an internship.

Clarke University says it's feeding a growing need, citing US Bureau of Labor Statistics that say environmental scientists and specialists will see job growth of 15 percent from 2012 to 2022.

"Programs like this equip our young leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to create more sustainable businesses and communities in the future," Dubuque's sustainable community coordinator Cori Burbach said. "This is another opportunity for Clarke students to be competitive in a growing professional field."

Some of the jobs available for those with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies include botanist, ecologist, forest ranger, air and water quality manager, environmental educator, geologist, environmental scientist, natural resource specialist, wildlife manager, conservationist and sustainability coordinator.

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