New major comes to Kent and Stark campuses; Kent Wired; September 19, 2016

By Hallie Saculla

A new major, environmental studies, is expanding across Kent State’s campuses in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography.

The interdisciplinary major, which will include geography, geology, sociology and biology courses, aims to educate students on environmental issues in relationship with how humans interact with the natural environment.

While a few courses will specifically be introduced for the new major, the majority of required curriculum will come from existing departments.


“There is a need for people to understand the environmental market, society and government," said David Kaplan, a geology professor and one of the forces behind the new major. "How institutions function and how to implement change makes a good industry for this major that stands out from others."

As this degree is popular among other universities across the country, Kaplan feels the major is filling a niche that wasn’t yet been filled at Kent State.

“This has been in the works for over two years now. It’s a win-win situation for all of the departments involved,” Kaplan said about the journey of the proposal.

The major was set to be approved during September’s Faculty Senate meeting. Kaplan, however, received a phone call from Stark’s campus within the last month expressing hopes of extending the major there. The details of the major are currently being reworded to use appropriate language for both campuses.

While the home of this major is in the Department of Geography, it is stressed that it is not solely a geography major.


“It’s a great place for students to explore and take what each major (geography, geology, sociology and biology) has to contribute to issues of sustainability, and merge them together in an important and growing field today,” said Jennifer Mapes, an assistant professor and undergraduate coordinator in the geography department. “Our goal is to provide useful and productive careers and to focus students on the important issues of the world.”

For a major to be official, the proposal must be approved by various review committees locally and in Columbus at the Department of Higher Education. Kaplan sees no future struggle with the documentation being approved. Assuming the major stays on the positive path it’s on, it should be on Kent State campuses next fall.

Hallie Saculla is an administration reporter, contact her at

POSTED: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 08:34 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM