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B-CU Receives Grant to Support New Master's Degree Program

The Jessie Ball DuPont Fund continued its long tradition of support for Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) this month when it awarded the university $250,000 to support the identification and acquisition of library resources for a new graduate program in Integrated Environmental Science (IES) at Bethune-Cookman University.

University records show DuPont has given the university more than $3.5 million since 1948.
"Thanks to funds such as the Jessie Ball Du Pont Fund, Bethune-Cookman is given the opportunity to expand on our academic programs to compete with institutions across the nation,” said B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. ""It is the second master's degree planned by B-CU faculty since 2004. While the university has already purchased new library resources for the new program, this grant will ensure B-CU's vision for the program will become a signature degree offering for the nation and world."

The grant will help the B-CU library provide resources (electronic, print and multimedia) that will be consistent with the learning and research demands of the proposed degree and will satisfy the required standards for accreditation. The University launched a bachelor's degree program in IES in 2009.

The project team is comprised of Dr. Herbert Thompson, dean of the School of Science, Mathematics and Engineering; Dr. Tasha Youmans, Director of Library and University Resources; and Dr. Michael Reiter, nationally renowned environmental scientist and chair of B-CU's department of integrated environmental sciences. Together they bring over 35 years of combined experience in program/curriculum development, instruction and research.
B-CU has taken an innovative approach in the development and implementation of its new IES programs.

Recognizing the field of environmental studies/science is, by definition, interdisciplinary – encompassing elements from the sciences (biology, chemistry, ecology, geology), humanities (philosophy, ethics), and social sciences (economics, geography, sociology, law) as well as policy analysis and other fields of study – B-CU's bachelor's and master's degree programs in IES are designed to expose students to multiple disciplines and help them develop the skills to make important linkages and assessments across the sub-fields.
This kind of approach has been recognized by many resource management agencies at both the state and federal level as valuable – and, in fact, necessary – to fulfill their missions. But, college and university curricula are by tradition more narrowly defined, giving students a more limited range of expertise.

B-CU's programs seek to fill this need and stand as a model in the newly developing field of IES. The curriculum has been reviewed by upper-level employees of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, the U.S. Geological Survey, and incorporates the proposals of the Environmental Systems and Sustainability Roundtable, a national effort to develop standards for interdisciplinary environmental programs in higher education.

"Resource management agencies, environmentalists, environmental practitioners, and even the general public have come to realize the complex facets of the environmental issues we face along with the interconnectedness of the factors leading to those issues. However, our academic system is still biased toward narrow disciplinary approaches.” noted Dr. Reiter. "As a result, while the need for integrated environmental approaches is growing, the ability to develop people trained in these approaches is not keeping pace.”

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Meredith Rodriguez

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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