The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents on Friday (Dec. 14) approved two new proposed degree programs: a Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management; and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The degree programs still must be certified by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and acknowledged by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before they can be offered.
“The master’s degree could begin as early as the fall of 2013, and the bachelor’s degree could take a bit longer,” said Texas Tech Provost Bob Smith. “We are excited about both degrees, because they embody three common elements: interdisciplinary curricula, emphases on areas important in future job growth, and critical focus on workplace needs in background and skills.”
The professional science degree qualifies students for employment in the public or private sector. It offers two tracks: environmental sustainability (taught through the Department Biological Sciences) and Natural Resource Management (offered in the Department of Natural Resources Management).
According to Mark Wallace, chair of the Department of Natural Resources Management, the degree will add important graduate studies options.
“The two departments likely to be most affected are Natural Resources Management and Plant and Soil Science,” he said. “This distance-based approach with a strong internship component will provide professionals in the natural resources and ecology arena in Texas and the region a unique graduate program opportunity to further their education.”
The target audience is people with a bachelor’s degree of some kind in biology/natural resources, who are already employed in an agency somewhere. The degree will enhance their career and promotion paths. Students need a Bachelor of Science degree to apply.
The global studies degree will prepare students for careers in diplomatic service, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and agencies involved in foreign policy. It is an interdisciplinary major that emphasizes social, economic, historical and cultural aspects of world affairs.
“Information gathered on other programs shows rising demand for such a degree,” said John Barkdull, associate professor, undergraduate director and global studies adviser for political science. “This degree puts Texas Tech on par with peer institutions in the state, in the region and nationally. In addition, it would contribute to important Texas Tech strategic goals: championing global engagement, educating a diverse and globally competitive workforce, and enhancing the cultural and economic development of the state, nation and world.”
Tibor Nagy, vice provost for International Affairs, also is excited about the possibilities this degree could offer Texas Tech students. Nagy served as ambassador to Guinea and Ethiopia before joining the university.
“When I studied at Texas Tech as an undergraduate there was no such program to prepare me for the diplomatic service; I had to gain supplemental knowledge on my own after graduating,” he said. “If I were a student today wanting to pursue a career in diplomacy, I would enthusiastically sign up for this program.”