State Education Department approves environmental geo-chemical science major
NEW PALTZ -- The State Education Department has approved a new major in environmental geo-chemical science to be offered by the School of Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at New Paltz. The program will focus on the human impact of stresses on the environment through a course concentration in the geological and chemical sciences.
"Our program is unique, in that it focuses on the physical sciences with a heavy emphasis on geology and chemistry," said David Lavallee, provost and vice president of academic affairs at New Paltz. "It is neither a biology-centered ecology program nor an environmental studies program; those already exist on numerous campuses. Students will study stresses on the environment by actually sampling materials present in the atmosphere, soil and water and learning to interpret patterns of movement of materials and their transformation in the environment."
At other institutions in the region, the most common environmental programs focus on policy programs that promote awareness of environmental concerns through courses in political science and sociology, Lavallee added.
Students enrolled in the new major will take courses in geology, chemistry, physics, biology and engineering, which focus on subjects such as soil and rock, water systems, and the chemical interaction between pollutants and soil and air. Upon graduation, students could expect to be candidates for entry-level research and data collection jobs at organizations such as the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition, Lavallee said the program is designed to take advantage of the graduate programs at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse.
"We worked with their faculty to develop a curriculum that would ensure both compliance with ESF, and that it would be unique," said Lavallee. "Our program will prepare students with course work and field experience that will make them well prepared for graduate work in Syracuse."
Steven Poskanzer, president of New Paltz, said that he is very excited about the intellectual direction in which the School of Science and Engineering is moving.
"I like that it addresses environmental topics that are of great concern to the region," said Poskanzer, "but it does it with a New Paltz-specific niche, which is to focus on the fundamental scientific principles that underlie the solutions to environmental policy. I'm particularly gratified with the way in which it links up to graduate programs at our sister school, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry."
For more information about the School of Science and Engineering, visit their Web site at www.newpaltz.edu/sse.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.