Good for the Environment

ENTSKelsea Dombrovski ’11 (Kimball, Minn.) struggled with choosing a major, so she—along with six of her classmates—was overjoyed when the Carleton faculty approved a new environmental studies major in May. “This major allows me to realize innumerable future opportunities,” Dombrovski says.

While environmental studies will encompass a broad spectrum of courses across Carleton’s curriculum, including four core courses in the social and natural sciences, majors will focus on one of four areas: food and agriculture, conservation and development, landscapes and perception, or water resources. Small groups of seniors in the major will complete a collaborative integrative exercise related to a broad programmatic theme, such as climate change or biodiversity, newly chosen each year.

“It’s exciting to have a full-fledged program to do justice to the topic,” says Mark Kanazawa, the Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences and director of environmental studies. “It will give students the opportunity to approach environmental problems across disciplinary lines.”

The program will have two full-time faculty positions: environmental studies professor Tsegaye Nega and a position shared by history professor George Vrtis and political science professor Kim Smith. In addition, nearly two dozen faculty members with appointments in departments across the College will continue to develop and teach interdisciplinary courses with an environmental studies focus. Kanazawa expects the number of majors to grow by the end of fall term 2009.

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