On July 13, Shippensburg University received approval from the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education for a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability. The program, offered through the College of Arts and Science’s Geography/Earth Science Department, will prepare students for careers in sustainability and resource conservation and management.

Over the next ten years, jobs in the field of sustainability are projected to increase by 6.8 percent. With many positions anticipated in Franklin, Cumberland, Adams, Dauphin and York counties, Ship is well positioned to provide for this need in the region.

“We’re excited about the new sustainability degree in the Department of Geography/Earth Science. Sustainability has emerged as the cornerstone in the implementation and understanding of land use and economic development policies at local, state and federal levels,” said Dr. William Blewett, professor and chair of Geography/Earth Science Department.

In 2015, Ship received a $50,000 National Science Foundation InTeGrate grant to develop curriculum that supports sustainability. The new degree emerged through interdisciplinary collaboration that included faculty from the Geography/Earth Science, Biology, Mathematics, Psychology, Management Information Systems and Supply Chain Management departments.

“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important across a variety of disciplines, which is why it was important to engage with multiple departments and faculty experts to create this new program. We’re pleased to bring this unique and comprehensive opportunity to students,” said Dr. Tracy Schoolcraft, acting provost and vice president of academic affairs.

“Our program is especially noteworthy because it combines the ‘soft’ skills of sustainability with the ‘hard’ skills of geotechnology and geographic information systems,” Blewett said.

The department currently offers undergraduate programs in geoenvironmental studies, environmental land use planning and geographic information systems programs and a master’s in geoenvironmental studies.

Ship is also home to the Center for Land Use and Sustainability, an interdisciplinary center that leverages the expertise of Ship faculty, staff, and students to promote sustainable land use, economic development, cultural and natural resource management, and communities.

The sustainability program will launch in fall 2017.