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Academic Programs

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Academic Programs

Minor in Sustainability Studies

As business communities continue to shift to more environmentally conscious practices, the demand for those with the knowledge to facilitate growth in these fields is undergoing a dramatic increase. The depletion of natural resources and changes in human health and the global economy due to climate change are opening up new opportunities in sustainability management, consulting, education and development. Students hoping to begin a career in these areas, advance current employment or preserve the environment stand to benefit from pursuing this new curriculum.  The 21-hour program offers courses for a variety of backgrounds, including the social sciences, arts and humanities, to cater to students with various strengths.  With an interdisciplinary series of courses, the Sustainability Studies minor can provide students with integrated knowledge and skills for global citizenship, as well as produce various practical experiences and strategies to fulfill the demand in the job market and new fields of research.

Watershed Institute

The Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) was originally established as the Center for Reservoir Research (CRR) in 1987 by the Kentucky Council on Higher Education as a Center of Excellence for Teaching and Research. In 2009, CRR was changed to WSI in order to better reflect the diversity of research that had been completed over the preceding 20 years, and to continue to broaden the research focus of the Institute. The mission of the Institute is to provide the infrastructure, support, and intellect for education and research of watershed ecosystems. WSI sponsors three research centers, a long-term monitoring program on Kentucky Lake, and support for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, and visiting scientists.

Sustainable Garden—Pullen Farm

The Sustainable Garden at Pullen Farm, while not large enough to provide all produce for the thousands of students to sit down at Dining's tables each day, is a working example of the circle of life.  Starting with all-natural compost from the fruit and vegetable trimmings from campus kitchens, the garden is planted and maintained without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  This is achieved, at least in part, from a technique called companion planting. It is based around the idea that certain plants benefit others when planted next to or close to one another.  Companion planting provides pest control naturally, without the need to use chemicals, and in some cases can yield a larger crop.  Traditional recommendations for companion planting have been used by gardeners for a long time, but recent tests are scientifically proving they work and it's working for Dining Services.

Center for Environmental Education

Since 1976, the Center for Environmental Education (CEE) has provided Murray State University and the greater western Kentucky region with environmental education guidance, programming, and materials.  Housed within the university’s College of Education, the CEE offers pre-service and in-service teachers numerous opportunities to learn methods of integrating the environment throughout their classroom curriculum.  In addition to its academic courses, the CEE has an array of educational materials for loan and outreach educators readily available to model environmental education methods and prepared activities for any classroom.  Through the Center for Environmental Education, MSU was the first of Kentucky’s universities to offer an environmental education endorsement for graduate education degrees, an action that has since been implemented by other state schools.  Murray State University is also the first university in the state to require elementary education majors to take a one hour class in Environmental Education.

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