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Two new degrees at SPSU blend environmental studies with engineering technology

Environmental_Science

MAY 14, 2013 – Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) will offer two new degrees this fall, both focused on the environment. On May 14, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave SPSU the go-ahead to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering Technology (EnvET) degree and the only Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (ENVS) degree in metropolitan Atlanta.

Both programs will be strongly linked to one another through environmental studies with a strong concentration in engineering.

Under the auspices of the Department of Civil Engineering Technology (CET), the 123-credit-hour EnvET program will provide a more focused choice for engineering technology students interested in the environment. EnvET graduates will be well-trained engineering technologists with strong foundations in civil engineering technology, chemistry and earth sciences as well as an understanding of environmental laws and regulations. These graduates are expected to find jobs in industry, environmental consulting and with state and federal agencies. SPSU’s CET graduates are in high demand; most have employment commitments well before receiving their diplomas and most are employed part time while in college.

“Environmental criteria are important aspects of all civil engineering activity in the present and foreseeable future,” said Prof. Tim Zeigler, chair of CET. “As industry expands, the need for graduates with a background in the area of environmental engineering technology will expand. Currently, students who want focused training in the field of environmental engineering technology must go outside of Georgia for that training.”

The 120-credit-hour ENVS degree program will be the only interdisciplinary environmental science program in the University System drawing on faculty expertise in science, engineering technology and public policy. It will be housed in the Department of Biology and Chemistry but will include courses in physics, earth sciences, engineering technology, engineering and social sciences. The ENVS faculty includes environmental chemists, an ecologist, a soil scientist, geographic information systems experts, civil engineers and natural resources managers. Graduates will be educated in the assessment and regulation of pollutants, remediation and restoration of toxic sites, conservation of natural resources and in conducting environmental research.

“The complexity of environmental monitoring and remediation has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, as has the maze of pertinent environmental laws and regulations,” said Dr. Mark Sugalski, chair of the Biology and Chemistry department. “These changes require a new kind of graduate who understands the science behind environmental problems, the policies that pertain to these problems and the engineering technology skills to solve them.”

Graduates of the two new programs will add to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pipeline, helping Georgia and the region to meet the work force requirements of industry.

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