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Notre Dame Introduces Environmental Sustainability Major

March 11, 2011

College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Arts and Sciences is launching a major in Environmental Sustainability. The interdisciplinary program offers students the opportunity to study the relationships between environmental concerns and social, political and economic institutions.

“Environmental issues and the controversies surrounding them make a direct call to institutions of higher learning to create programs that train and educate students who will make a positive impact locally and universally,” said noted naturalist and environmental educator Professor Robert Hoage, Ph.D., who heads the program at Notre Dame.

The major is available to students in the Women’s College and is focused on recognizing and solving the world’s contemporary environmental problems guided by Notre Dame’s core Catholic- and women-centered values. Students will develop the knowledge, skills to navigate the complexity of contemporary environmental challenges, while developing tools to advocate for environmental protection and environmental justice.

According to the report “Current and Potential Green Jobs in the U.S. Economy,” released in October 2008 by the United States Conference of Mayors and Global Insight Inc., roughly 10% of new job growth over the next thirty years (or 4.2 million new jobs) may be related to environmental initiatives. Meanwhile, employment of environmental scientists is expected to increase by 25% between 2006 and 2016, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2008-2009.

“Notre Dame’s interdisciplinary environmental sustainability program provides a holistic view of the complex environmental issues we face today and will continue to grapple with,” said Dr. Hoage. “Whether in business, government, education or the non-profit sphere, our graduates will be empowered to act as responsible stewards, mindful of Earth’s delicate balance and motivated to seek solutions.”

There are three degree options to choose from, with majors consisting of 44-50 credits depending on the chosen track:

  • Environmental Sustainability Major (BA) with science emphasis
  • Environmental Sustainability Major (BA) with public policy emphasis
  • Environmental Sustainability Major (BA) with sustainable entrepreneurship emphasis

The program offers students the option to connect their environmental studies coursework with the College’s international programs, including Alternative Spring Break, Service Abroad, and a diverse array of short-term and semester-length study abroad options.

Dr. Hoage joined Notre Dame in 2005 after more than 20 years at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., where he served as chief media spokesperson. During his tenure, Dr. Hoage spearheaded the zoo’s highly-successful scientific education programs for the public, including the wildlife studies certificate program, several scientific symposia and evening natural history lectures. He is a recipient of the American Zoo and Aquarium Associations’ Significant Achievement Award and the co-editor of “New Worlds, New Animals: From Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century.”

College of Notre Dame of Maryland is recognized for its commitment to a liberal arts education, including strong teacher preparation and nursing degree programs and small class sizes. The Women’s College, the first Catholic college for women in the United States to award the four-year baccalaureate degree, offers 30 majors. Notre Dame was named to the “Great Schools, Great Prices” listing in America’s Best Colleges 2011. Graduate Studies pharmacy education, nursing, management, communication and liberal studies provide students with a focused contemporary curriculum. In September 2011, the College officially becomes Notre Dame of Maryland University. Visit ndm.edu for more information.