College Receives Planning Grant to Grow Environmental Studies Program

March 26, 2018 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

The prestigious Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have awarded Elmhurst College a planning grant that will enable the College to begin developing an undergraduate program in environmental studies that will prepare professionals to address the world’s environmental challenges and opportunities.

With the $78,750 planning grant, recently approved by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Board of Trustees, the College will identify the curricular and administrative needs for the development of the bachelor’s degree program in the growing academic field. The grant will help Elmhurst College to accept its first class of prospective environmental studies majors in Fall 2019.

Sparked by increased public interest and awareness of the environment, undergraduate academic programs in environmental studies continue to increase in popularity and demand. The programs play a formative role in producing environmental professionals who work in a variety of scientific, consulting, government, planning, business and public policy careers.

The program will offer two interdisciplinary degrees in environmental studies—a policy-focused bachelor of arts degree, and a science-focused bachelor of science degree. Through interdisciplinary academic courses, internships, experiential and co-curricular activities, the program’s goal is for Elmhurst students to become compassionate stewards of the environment, scholars in sustainability and environmental management, and experts in environmental studies.

“It is exciting to see faculty from many different departments work together on the development of an interdisciplinary program that will appeal to many of our students and create exciting new research opportunities at Elmhurst College,” said April Edwards, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

We believe that a partnership between Elmhurst College and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will forward our shared objective of strengthening a commitment to stewardship of the Earth.

Edwards on the partnership

Constance Mixon, who has experience leading and growing interdisciplinary programs as the director of the Urban Studies Program, has been chosen as the program director for the planning grant. Kimberly Lawler-Sagarin, associate professor of chemistry and assistant dean for faculty development, will lead the curriculum design for the science track. Teri Walker, professor and chair of the political science department, will lead development of the policy track.

Since their inception in 1952, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have given more than 3,800 grants totaling more than $300 million to colleges and universities, hospitals, medical schools and divinity schools.

“Elmhurst College is thrilled to receive this grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations,” said Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken. “It’s gratifying to see that an organization of their stature supports our efforts to contribute to such an important field.”

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