New environmental science major coincides with opening of Science Hall

Huntington, Ind.—Huntington College will offer a new bachelor’s degree in environmental science next fall. The new environmental science major will be an interdisciplinary blending of biology and chemistry.

The new program is the latest in a series of curriculum enhancements at the comprehensive Christian college. Last spring, Huntington College announced new business programs in e-commerce, small business management (entrepreneurship), and non-profit organization management.

Huntington College’s new environmental science major will prepare students for employment in the private sector and government in various environmental fields, including environmental biology, ecology, wildlife biology and management, environmental chemistry, environmental law and policy, and pollution monitoring and control. As with HC’s other programs in the sciences, students will develop analytical and problem-solving skills that enhance their employability and that prepare them for graduate school.

The new program offering next fall will coincide with the opening of Huntington College new science and technology center. The 91,000-square-foot facility will be the largest building on campus, and will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories for natural science, mathematics, and computer science.

Environmental science majors at Huntington College will also have ready access to the campus arboretum and the 77-acre Thornhill Nature Preserve. Located 8 miles north of Huntington’s campus, Thornhill Nature Preserve includes a variety of natural habitats, including evergreen and deciduous forest, a woodland pond, meadows, and wetlands. The diverse ecosystem supports a wide variety of wildflowers, mammals, and birds.

“The environmental science program will assist students to understand the natural world from the perspective of a Christian worldview and prepare them to impact their world for Christ,” said Dr. Beth Burch, associate professor of biology.

Dr. Jerry Smith, professor of physics and chemistry, believes the new major in environmental science fits well with Huntington College’s Christian mission. “God calls us to be stewards of the Earth, and this frames the Christian’s challenge to thoroughly understand environmental issues and principles,” said Smith. “The environmental science major will prepare students for service in professions that directly promote wise stewardship of the Earth as God’s creation.”

Two concentrations will be available in the environmental science major, laboratory science and public policy. Both programs will include existing courses in biology and chemistry, plus new courses now being developed.

In addition, students will be required to complete at least one course at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in northern Michigan. Au Sable is a Christian environmental stewardship institute whose mission is to “bring healing and wholeness to the biosphere and the whole of Creation.” Huntington College has participated in the Institute for several decades.

Upperclassmen in the environmental science program will complete an internship in a governmental or not-for-profit agency or in a private sector. A “senior seminar” will cap the program, enabling students to integrate their scientific coursework, theological training, and public policy understandings.

The environmental science program is expected to attract additional students to major in the laboratory sciences, as well as provide an alternative course track for current biology or chemistry students. The program will benefit those students who are highly motivated in a broader and more interdisciplinary science field and have better abilities in a field that emphasizes the application of these disciplines.

Huntington College already has faculty in place to implement the new environmental science program.

o Dr. Beth Burch is a plant biologist with teaching experience in natural resource conservation and has taken coursework in instrumental techniques. She has studied the flora and fauna of Indiana, and has interest in marine biology.

o Dr. Bruce Evans currently teaches ecology and also has experience at Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the remediation and monitoring of radioactive sites.

o Dr. William Bordeaux has conducted summer analytical chemistry at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration laboratories in tropical environs, and previously taught courses in ecology and environmental science, including elements of outdoor environmental education.

o Dr. Ruth Nalliah is an expert in analytical chemistry procedures including instrumental methods, and has taught environmental chemistry. She has studied elements of toxicity and waste disposal, and has interest in implementing instrumental methods of chemical analysis for environmental remediation.

Dr. Gerald Smith has studied environmental engineering for nuclear waste, including radionuclide migration in the environment. He has also conducted research at Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Argonne National Laboratories. He served many years on the Indiana Emergency Radiation Response Team, has taught courses in standard methods for wastewater treatment. He has interest in the physics of energy in the environment.

Huntington College is comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. US News and World Report ranks Huntington among the best in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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