Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Illinois State University Approves New Renewable Energy Undergraduate Degree

The Board of Trustees at Illinois State University approved a new undergraduate renewable energy degree this month. The multi-disciplinary bachelor's degree will provides a broad overview of renewable energy industries.

The new degree will include a technical sequence as well as an economics and public policy sequence. The degree will be administered by the Department of Technology, but will draw from existing courses in the Agriculture, Economics, Health Sciences, Geography-Geology, Mathematics Politics and Government and Physics departments. The program will add one new faculty position and 40 majors are anticipated to enroll by the fourth year of the program.

The University recognizes that renewable energy is a fast-growing industry that will call for many new workers in the future.

Support for the program will initially come from a U.S. Department of Energy grant, and department resources will be used for long-term program support.

This is excellent! I wish I had had this kind of program at my university during my undergraduate studies. This is the first undergraduate degree of this kind I know of. If others are aware of other undergraduate renewable energy degrees at other universities or colleges, please mention them in the comments section.

This kind of degree should be offered all over the country. We need to be training many of our brightest young minds to tackle the challenges ahead on the road to a sustainable energy future.

And according to Grist article, colleges and universities would be smart to start offering more energy-focused courses. Enrollment in energy classes is "off the charts" at UC Berkeley, Grist reports, and more and more students are reporting that they plan to enter the renewable energy field after graduation.

Just another sign that young people grasp the scope of the challenges and opportunities ahead in the efforts to fight global warming, end our addiction to fossil fuels and transition to a sustainable energy future!

[Jesse graduated last year from the University of Oregon, having taken every upper-division energy-focused course offered at the campus - all one of them!]

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