At its meeting on June 13, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education gave final approval to the University of Southern Indiana’s proposed environmental science and anthropology degrees. The 120-credit hour bachelor’s degrees will be offered starting in the fall semester.
The environmental science degree, approved by USI’s Board of Trustees in March, will combine the study of biology, ecology, hydrology, geology, and sustainability to educate students on aspects of environmental science and societal issues related to the environment by focusing on hands on experiences in the field and laboratory. Students also will gain valuable knowledge about green business and the need for renewable energy sources.
“I am excited to work with students in our new environmental science degree program on projects that will benefit the community and region,” said Dr. Bill Elliot, associate professor and chair of the Department of Geology and Physics in USI’s Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.
In addition to University Core Curriculum courses, the rigorous program will include 56 credit hours in environmental science core courses, 26 hours in supporting math and science courses, and one supporting social science course.
The field of environmental science employed over 1,300 people in Indiana in 2008, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. That number is projected to grow by 32 percent to more than 1,750 by 2018, higher than the national 10-year growth projection of 27.8 percent.
The environmental science degree aims to help meet this demand by preparing students to seek additional training in graduate and professional schools; to pursue careers in private sectors such as environmental consulting, environmental science, engineering, and environmental health; and to seek employment in public sectors such as state, federal and local government agencies that regulate land use and pollution.
The new anthropology degree offers education in archaeology, cultural, and physical/forensic sciences. The curriculum also provides many experience-based opportunities such as a summer archaeological field school, ethnographic studies abroad, and forensic lab analysis. The anthropology degree was approved by USI’s Board of Trustees last September.
“I am personally thrilled,” said Dr. Ronda Priest, associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Studies in USI’s College of Liberal Arts. “Several students have already declared this major and are planning to graduate next year.”
The anthropology degree, in addition to the University Core Curriculum, will consist of 33 hours of anthropology and related courses and 36 hours of directed electives, six of which much be in foreign language.
In eight Southwestern Indiana counties, job growth is projected to grow in anthropology-related fields by 23.8 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, outpacing the state by 3.5 percent and the nation by 2.5 percent.
In addition to preparing students for graduate study, the anthropology program will prepare students as cultural and linguistic anthropologists who work in federal, state, and local government, including the military, healthcare centers, nonprofit associations, and marketing firms. The degree also can prepare physical anthropologists who work in biomedical research, human engineering, private genetics laboratories, pharmaceutical firms, and archaeological work.
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a 14-member public body created in 1971 to define the missions of Indiana’s colleges and universities, plan and coordinate the state’s postsecondary education system, and ensure that Indiana’s higher education system is aligned to meet the needs of students and the state.
Photo Credit: Submitted
USI student Chanse Ford (right) conducts hydrogeological research while Dr. Paul Doss, associate professor of geology, oversees.