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College considers adding environmental studies major

Desi LaPoole
A&E Editor

On Friday, Dec. 1, the environmental studies department chair Matthew Mariola held a meeting with students to discuss the development of a new environmental studies major. Since its creation in 2009, the environmental studies program has only been offered as a minor at the College. Unlike other schools in the Five Colleges of Ohio, namely Denison, Oberlin and Ohio Wesleyan, The College of Wooster does not offer environmental studies as a major. However, there has been increasing support from students and professors to establish a major here at the College in this field of study.

During the meeting, Mariola expressed why he held the meeting: the environmental studies minor is one of the most popular minors offered at the College, right behind the education minor.

“Student interest is really consistent,” Mariola said. “Our classes are consistently filled up.” This level of interest from students is one of the primary factors in the discussion on a new environmental studies major.

Members of the faculty are also expressing support for the major. Geology department chair Meagen Pollock believes that the development of an environmental sciences major and a potential environmental geosciences pathway in the geology department will better prepare Wooster students to face complex societal issues.

“Many of the critical issues facing society involve the environment and the geosciences,” said Pollock. “The new programs will provide opportunities for students to study environmental injustice and environmental processes that affect the global community.”

Dean of Curriculum and Academic Engagement (DCAE) Brian Karazsia is excited about the discussions on the developing major. As the DCAE, Karazsia’s role in these discussions are to support the work of faculty in overseeing, assessing and revising the curriculum. From his time as the DCAE and his previous role as the associate dean of advising, Karazsia has seen that this is an area of study that is already receiving many student-designed major proposals. Student-designed majors require support from two faculty members, meaning that as students continue to submit proposals for a student-designed major, faculty members continue to support the major. Karazsia states that, “student interest and faculty interest are two of the biggest questions I have about any major change to the curriculum, and I’m hearing both in this case.”

However, becoming a major does come with some constraints. Independent Study (I.S.) is one of the primary topics that Mariola would

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