Chancellor Brady recently authorized renaming the UNCG Environmental Studies Program as the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. The change reflects both the university’s growing emphasis on sustainability in its operations and undergraduate education and as well as the need to offer courses and degrees in this area. Opportunities for careers in environmental protection continue to be strong, and more and more organizations are employing sustainability experts and coordinators for their operations.
The program will continue to offer a major and a minor focused on the Environmental Studies major and the Environmental Studies minor. A new Sustainability minor was added this semester, and long term planning calls for offering a major as well. The Environmental Studies major and minor focus primarily on the causes of environmental problems and their possible solutions. They include courses from natural science, social science, public policy, and humanities. The Sustainability minor, which is also broadly interdisciplinary, focuses on the interrelationships between four aspects of society that must operate in a way that provides for people’s current needs without undermining the welfare of future generations: environmental protection, economic sustainability, social justice and aesthetics.
Environmental and Sustainability Studies is one of several Special Programs in Liberal Studies housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is administered by an interdisciplinary committee with representatives from the College and most of the Schools. The current director is Dr. Bill Markham (Bill@uncg.edu) of the Sociology Department. UNCG has many faculty across campus who conduct research and teach about environmental and sustainability issues. The interests range from the ecology of the arctic tundra and of cities, to environmental problems of developing countries, to sustainable design, to music and the environment, to sustainable tourism and entrepreneurship.