DAYTON, Ohio — The University of Dayton board of trustees today approved bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in sustainability, which students can start in August 2019. According to a 2017 report published by the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Corps, the number of sustainability jobs has increased by about 1 million in the last six years.
Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the majors add to the College’s academic offerings in sustainability that currently include a minor in sustainability and a 12-credit-hour graduate certificate in sustainability. The School of Engineering also has a master’s program in renewable and clean energy.
Carter Creviston, a student from Cincinnati who just wrapped up his first year at UD, plans to switch to the new major this fall.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I have been interested in helping the environment, often doing small things to help like sorting recyclables at my house and at school. I had no idea my interest in helping the environment would be what I dedicate my college education and, hopefully, my life to,” Creviston said. “Very early into college I decided I wanted to get the sustainability minor. However, when I learned there was a major in the works, I was immediately intrigued. I am incredibly excited to pursue the major, especially at a university that is among the top in the nation in sustainability efforts.”
The bachelor of science degree will have tracks in energy and sustainable watersheds and will involve courses in biology, geology, economics, chemistry, political science, math and engineering, among others. It also could benefits students going on to be paralegals or lawyers in sustainability fields.
The bachelor of arts degree will have tracks in food studies and urban sustainability and include courses in data analysis, statistics, geographical information systems, ecology, advanced writing and philosophy, among others.
“We are placing vocation and community-based hands-on learning at the center of the curriculum,” said Rebecca Potter, director of the sustainability program. “These programs will provide students a foundation for using sustainability to serve others regardless of their career paths.”
The sustainability degrees are intentionally designed to complement other majors, Potter added. For example, she said students eyeing careers with environmental protection agencies can easily double major in environmental biology and sustainability. A double major in history or sociology and sustainability could suit future urban planners. Students pursuing nonprofit careers, especially combating food deserts, could benefit from a philosophy-sustainability double major.
Other fields where sustainability majors will be marketable include engineering, architecture, agriculture, data analysis, education, facilities management and public administration, among others.
“We’re thankful for the generosity of the George and Amanda Hanley Foundation for jumpstarting many of the University’s sustainability initiatives and accelerating our journey toward our goal of being among the nation’s preeminent universities for sustainability education,” said Jason Pierce, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The launch of these sustainability degree programs is another important step on that journey.”
It’s been quite a journey since the foundation’s $12.5 million gift in 2014, the largest single gift in University history, established the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
The University of Dayton is ranked No. 18 on Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” list for displaying “a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues and encouraging environmental responsibility.” UD is the only school in the Midwest among the top 20 and ranks third among all U.S. Catholic colleges and universities.
The University has a gold rating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ rating system; its score ranks in the top 3 percent of all rated schools, first in Ohio, and second among all U.S. Catholic colleges and universities. The University earned perfect or near perfect marks for academic research; diversity and affordability; sustainability coordination and planning; purchasing and public engagement; and innovation and leadership.
UD also is one of the 399 most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation, according to The Princeton Review Guide to 399 Green Colleges. It is part of Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, which commits the University to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and also is a part of “We’re Still In,” which supports climate action to meet the Paris Agreement; the Global Catholic Climate Movement; and the U.N. Global Compact — the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.