The University of Washington named a dean for their recently announced College of the Environment, but there’s still a great deal to be worked out in order to realize the vision of collaboration between disciplines. The good news is that there’s an increasing interest from students. UW’s Environmental Sciences and Resources Management curriculum has seen a 30 percent increase in the past year.
In a similar move, Colorado State University has announced th creation of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability as an umbrella organization to encompass all environmental education and research at the university. Well respected environmental researcher Diana Wall will serve as founding director of the school, with immediate plans to explore curriculum creation with first classes by 2010.
Colorado State’s clearinghouse approach would combine such disciplines as atmospheric science, environmental politics, wind engineering, agricultural economics, green building, wildlife biology, ecotourism, forestry, ecology, sustainable entrepreneurship and public policy. While there’s great opportunity to combine curriculum among these disciplines, there’s also a commitment that every department across the campus will offer some type of environmental course.
There’s a sea change in academia that’s going to build momentum. Multidisciplinary research and education will provide insight into climate and land use, biodiversity loss, human, plant and animal disease, crops and global food economies, and water conservation.