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01-17-2005

Clarkson Announces New Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Degree Program For Fall Of 2005

Clarkson University has received State Education Department approval for a new Bachelor of Science degree program in Environmental Engineering.

Administered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the new undergraduate program will be grounded in systems engineering and this approach will allow for numerous cross-disciplinary courses leading to research with other units at Clarkson.  This interdisciplinary approach, a hall mark of a Clarkson education, will further the goals of the environmental engineering research focus area.

The fact that the University currently offers a graduate degree in Environmental Science & Engineering and another in Environmental Engineering means that there is already a corps of faculty with environmental engineering credentials.   These professors will make it possible for incoming students in the fall of 2005 to begin their studies in this exciting new program, as well as current students who wish to switch majors. 

“The emerging paradigm for environmental sustainability envisions environmental concerns and consequences as integral parts of decision-making in business and government,” stated Amy Zander, professor of civil and environmental engineering. “As such, an approach to environmental problem solving and design, which is based on systems engineering principles, provides a logical template or theme for structuring a new Bachelor of Science program in environmental engineering.”

The need for environmental engineers has grown dramatically over the past decade and there is every expectation that this demand will continue.   A shift in emphasis toward avoiding problems rather than handling current issues and hazards, in addition to increasing public health worries, are two more areas that will likely push the already strong demand for environmental engineers .

Clarkson University’s graduate program in Environmental Engineering was ranked 23rd among Environmental Engineering/Environmental Health graduate programs by US News and World Report this past year and it is likely that the new undergraduate program will gain quick national recognition as well.

”Clarkson University’s historic strength in graduate environmental engineering and the doctoral level Environmental Manufacturing Management program funded by the National Science Foundation at Clarkson further defines the basis for the proposed program,” added Susan Powers, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Clarkson’s environmental engineering program will be one of the few in the country that uses a “systems approach” to problem solving. The method, which is often used only at the graduate level, looks at the overall picture for finding solutions, producing only the most positive results achievable without any drawbacks in ecological, societal or economical scopes.

Clarkson’s location in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains will  also be will be an obvious draw for students interested in the environmental engineering major. The surrounding area provides many opportunities for students to study the environment first hand. The undergraduate program could also help Clarkson University attract women students. According to the Engineering Workforce Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies, Inc., Environmental Engineering is of the greatest interest to women undergraduate students (among engineering programs), with 40 percent female enrollment nationwide. “This new program could result in a slightly increased female enrollment in engineering at Clarkson, a stated goal of the university,” concluded Zander.

The first year curriculum will include the same courses all students in the School of Engineering take, however, during their final three years students will concentrate their studies in earth science, organic chemistry, microbiology, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and physical chemistry, as well as specific courses such as Environmental Risk Analysis and Industrial Ecology.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is an independent university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business and the sciences.  Its academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 350 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges.  Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level.  For more information, visit http://www.clarkson.edu. 

Further details on the new undergraduate program are available at http://www.clarkson.edu/prospective/academic_majors/majors/environmental.html. For more information, contact Hung Tao Shen, Department Chair at htshen@clarkson.edu or 315-268-6606.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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