CSU could have a new academic department if university researcher John Moore has his way.
Moore, the director of CSUâ€™s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL), has been lobbying the universityâ€™s administration to create the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.
The College Curriculum Committee will decide the proposed departmentâ€™s future on March 8. If approved, the department will offer baccalaureate, masterâ€™s and doctoral degrees in ecosystem science and sustainability.
In 2009, Moore was granted $130,000 by the Provostâ€™s Office to develop courses for the major, which have been offered to students on an experimental basis. He was given another $150,000 this year, which he has not yet spent.
The proposed department would bridge a gap between science and activism to focus on green issues. While existing departments already offer some of the coursework required for the degrees, Moore said his proposed department would have a more hands-on approach.
â€œThere would be some overlap, and weâ€™d definitely draw from those disciplines,â€ Moore said. â€œBut we want to be careful because I donâ€™t want it to be viewed as competing with other disciplines. I would hope that it really compliments what theyâ€™re doing.â€
Many researchers at CSU see a clear need for a department that addresses todayâ€™s growing environmental movement.
â€œI think (CSU) needs a sort of new framing of how we do education, and I think as you look at climate change, issues related to elimination of poverty, a lot of these things deal with environmental issues,â€ said Denis Ojima, senior NREL research scientist and CSU professor said.
â€œThereâ€™s a desire for undergraduates today to be involved in something more than just bookwork; to really get out, be engaged with the community, be involved, explore a career that they can see is relevant to them,â€ Moore said.
If the department is approved, Moore said he is unsure of how long it will take to implement because of several obstacles â€“â€“ creating a comprehensive curriculum and gathering the finances necessary for launching the department.
Staff writer K.C. Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.