by Pamela Young, Published September 20, 2011
YPSILANTI - The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved the addition of two new academic programs at its regular meeting Sept. 20.
The new programs are an Early Childhood Education major, and an Interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Society major.
The Early Childhood Education major is an extension of a current minor that will be eliminated. The major will prepare graduates to teach in both special education and general education early childhood settings with an Early Childhood endorsement on an elementary teaching certificate.
"Students wanting elementary certification, with a focus on the early childhood years (birth through age eight), will be able to take the early childhood major to complete certification program requirements," said Karen Paciorek, professor in the Department of Teacher Education and an expert in early childhood education.
Eastern Michigan's new major meets the state's updated standards including new requirements for the elementary teacher certification program; new standards for preparing teachers for early childhood education, and the state's acceptance of the early childhood major to complete the elementary certification program.
The interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Society program will provide students with a broad knowledge of the interaction between humans and the environment. They'll learn how population growth and increased economic activity affect the environment, and how geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to present environmental data.
Students in the program will focus on one of two specialty areas: Environmental Science or Environment and Society. Environmental Science emphasizes challenges in the area such as biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, climate variability and land-use dynamics. Environment and Society covers environmental policies and regulations, and their economic, political and social impact.
"The environmental science degree will prepare students to enter a graduate degree or graduate program in a specific environmental science such as ecology or hydrogeology," said Thomas Venner, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Companies also hire consulting firms to help them comply with complex regulations. Both the renewed emphasis on environmental awareness and the need for skilled employees has led to an increased popularity of environmental science/studies programs."
In other action, the Board also approved the deletion of two existing degree programs: the Business French major, and the three minors program offered by the College of Education.