UCO’s New Minor in Sustainability Studies

UCO’s New Minor in Sustainability Studies

Two recycling cans sit on the east of the University of Central Oklahoma campus, UCO is adding a Sustainability minor to the university’s minor options to teach students how to be more ecologically vigilant. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista). 

The University of Central Oklahoma is adding a new minor in sustainability studies to the course catalog starting this coming Fall semester to educate students on taking care of the environment ecologically and socially as well as expand their qualifications in their respective careers.

Dr. Katrina Lacher, UCO professor and faculty advisor for the minor, first proposed the new minor in early January 2015 after discussing increased student interest in the environment and long term effects of society.

She worked on this proposal with Tim Tillman, who at the time was the Director of Sustainability at UCO. Since then, Eric Hemphill has taken over as the new Director of Sustainability and carried on with Dr. Lacher to see this minor through.

This was the second time a minor in sustainability was proposed. The first time, being years prior, the minor was never able to get the approval to move forward.

Dr. Lacher said that the most challenging part of starting a new minor was building the curriculum, but after over two years of working towards implementing the minor, the goal is to get the word out to students that the minor is available and grow to provide more opportunities for students.

The minor is built around courses in Geography, History, Leadership, Political Science and Sociology. Almost all of these classes are already taught at UCO with only a couple exceptions of newly added classes.

“Some of the student here have already completed enough of these courses required to obtain the minor and probably do not even know it.” Dr. Lacher said when asked about the course requirements.

Dr. Lacher is currently working on creating scholarships for sustainability studies minors and hopes to grow the program in the next few years to open up the possibility for grants. She also plans to bring a number of guest speakers from all over the region to campus to talk to students.

UCO is not the first school to implement a sustainability minor. With organizations like the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, sustainability is taught across the country in smaller schools like UCO and in larger schools like University of California, Los Angeles.

Students can enroll in the classes and declare a minor in sustainability studies now.

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