by Dr. Marty Kaufman, chair ERS
Since 2006, our department has grown from 30 students to the 81 we now have. Over the years, we have received many requests for an environment-related Master’s Degree program, but due to the low number of full-time faculty, it was not possible to offer one. This situation has now changed, and at our upcoming faculty meeting we will be discussing several possible avenues for graduate study within the department.
Given the current diversity of our faculty expertise, there are several options for a Master’s program. In no particular order the three most likely are: Integrated Science, Sustainability, and Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. We are currently conducting a search for a new faculty member who will coordinate the Integrated Science Teaching Certificate Program. Michigan school districts now prefer to hire teachers with preparation in Integrated Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science), rather than discipline-specific candidates. As a result, all of the discipline-based science Teaching Certificate Programs at UM-Flint have been phased out, and the Integrated Science program will become active this fall. We anticipate at least 10-12 students initially at the undergrad level, including many currently employed science teachers who will return to add this certification. Since the State of Michigan requires teachers to obtain an additional 18 credit hours of graduate work, a Master’s in Integrated Science can provide an avenue for fulfilling this requirement.
Regarding the Sustainability program, our Energy and Sustainable Systems major implemented in 2011 has been very successful. We have over 15 majors, and the soon to be completed Urban Alternatives House should provide a catalyst for the further growth of this program. GIS would be a core component of this degree, which may also include tracks in Sustainable Transportation, Energy, Planning and Policy, and Water Resources.
If the GIS Master’s is developed, we also envision it to have multiple tracks; with applied components in transportation, energy, and water resources among others.
We would like to hear your thoughts about ERS graduate programs. Please send us a note.