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New College readies several new academic programs

June 23, 2010

Students wishing to study topics ranging from environmental science to documentaries to organizational dynamics, and more, can pursue their interests through several bachelor’s degree programs and concentrations to be unveiled during the coming academic year by Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

New College, the core college on ASU’s West campus, has aggressive growth plans, said Elizabeth Langland, the college’s dean.

“Our faculty members have been working with great dedication and creativity to develop degrees that reflect New College’s commitment to offering programs that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries while preparing students for rewarding career opportunities,” Langland said.

Each of the college’s three divisions plans to offer at least one new academic program by the start of the Fall 2011 semester, pending completion of the curricular development and approval process. The Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences took the lead in developing a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary organizational studies, which will help students understand the behavior and dynamics of individual, group and organizational processes in the workplace. Graduates will be prepared for employment in corporate and small business settings, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as health professions, social services and public relations.

Social and Behavioral Sciences also is making its existing bachelor of arts degree in psychology available via an entirely online format. The new online program, which starts this fall, offers the same academic rigor as the program offered through face-to-face classes on the West campus.

“The online psychology degree is proving popular with everyone from working adults to traditional-age college students who may be place-bound but still want to earn an ASU degree,” Langland said. “Students have been inquiring about the program from across the United States, Europe, and even South Asia and South America.”

Meanwhile, the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies is directing the development of majors in documentary studies, peace studies and Southwest studies.

Documentary studies captures and tells stories through images, texts, sound and other media and thus serves as a tool for communication and for fostering understanding and change. Students may choose from three tracks: history and criticism, documentary production, or social justice and change. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to connect their educational experiences and creative expression to broader community life through documentary fieldwork projects.

The new degree in peace studies explores obstacles, conditions and pathways to achieving a just global peace. The degree program aims to help students develop skills to address the most pressing issues of our time, including peace-building, conflict resolution, access to structural resources and sustainability in its broadest sense.

“Students who pursue the Southwest studies degree will achieve both in-depth and broad understandings of our region, so that they may help maintain the vitality and productivity of the Southwest in the 21st century,” Langland said. “Southwest studies majors will explore topics including our unique geography, landscape, culture, politics, history, border relations, migration patterns, ethnic dynamics, artistic traditions and environmental issues.”

The environment is also a key focal point for faculty members in the Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. These professors are taking the lead in developing majors and concentrations in environmental science and environmental studies. The new programs will prepare students for careers in both the public and private sectors, such as environmental consulting, environmental remediation, natural resource management, environmental law, policy and advocacy. Graduates also will be prepared to enter graduate programs in environmental science and related disciplines.

Responding to student interest in criminology and criminal justice, which is housed at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, faculty in Mathematical and Natural Sciences are also collaborating with faculty in other divisions to create a new major and concentration in forensics. This degree will prepare students for careers in forensics science.

“In addition to rigorous coursework in the natural and mathematical sciences, the forensics program will draw on other disciplines to require courses in ethics and forensic psychology, a distinctive strength of this New College degree,” Langland said.

For more information about these and other academic program offerings from ASU’s New College, call (602) 543-7000.