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New Bellarmine University Center Will Explore Regional Environmental Challenges

Jul 06, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 6, 2009) – President Joseph J. McGowan has announced the creation of a new Bellarmine University Center for Regional Environmental Studies.

The center will support a new undergraduate program in environmental studies, campus-wide initiatives in environmental sustainability, new research agendas and the new Bellarmine Farm. Robert Kingsolver will serve as founding dean and director, effective July 15. Kingsolver currently serves as dean of Bellarmine College.

"Dr. Kingsolver has demonstrated a commitment to high standards, faculty development and working effectively across disciplines," McGowan said. "Now, for the great benefit of the University, our students, faculty, programs, and the region itself, he will build on all that he has done by reaching into his own discipline and expertise in environmental studies to create this major new resource for the university."

Global Environment and Sustainability is one of the major components of Vision 2020, Bellarmine's long-term plan for intelligent growth. This new undergraduate program will prepare students to take advantage of the increase in environmental technology and management jobs, as well as to approach business with a stronger environmental conscience. Students can look forward to signing up for a minor in environmental studies as early as next spring. A major in environmental studies could be in place by the fall of 2010.

"A university is really a highly concentrated town, so anything a municipality would think about, we have to think about. Since we're becoming a regional leader, it behooves us to be out ahead of the curve a little and show how things are going to be done," Kingsolver said. "Everything that you do has an impact, so we have to think through all those processes and create high quality of life and low environmental impact at the same time."

Kingsolver said he envisions the Bellarmine Farm and gardens as an opportunity for students to get re-acquainted with the natural world. "They have a better intuitive understanding of living things if they’ve helped with growing things," he said. "So, there's a large educational component to that. One of the first priorities will be to get students in touch with their own food system."

Bill Fenton, current chair of the mathematics department, will be the interim dean of Bellarmine College for the 2009-2010 academic year, during which time the university will carry out a search for Kingsolver’s successor.

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs and a doctor of physical therapy. Forbes dot com and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America’s best institutions of higher learning, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.

To read the full Q&A with Robert Kingsolver, click here: Kingsolver Q&A


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