New degrees not laid out on USI website

James Vaughn

Students who are interested in studying the history of humankind or the relations between organisms and their environment now have those options. Locating the degree requirements for USI’s two newest majors, though, may be a challenge.

“It’s one of those things I have to take care of because it just became a major,” Anthropology Adviser Michael Strezewski said.

He said he plans to submit the degree requirements to the Liberal Arts’s webmaster to post online soon. Strezewski said he thinks about six students are currently signed up for the major.

Senior Jessica Lawson just changed her major to anthropology after four years of searching for the right fit academically.

“I thought it sounded like something I would really like,” she said. “I knew I wanted to change my major and I asked the biology department, because biology is my minor, what would fit the most.”

She had to jump through hoops to find out exactly what anthropology entailed because it wasn’t listed on the website, Lawson said. She also thought about environmental science as a major and between the two majors, she had to meet with several faculty members to figure out which one was best suited for her.

Lawson said she was surprised to hear such a low number are signed up for anthropology.

“I thought they made it a major because there was a higher demand for it,” she said.

Lawson plans to work outside with people.

“I want to put my education background to use – so something like a park and rec person or a park ranger,” she said.

Strezewski said most students he has talked to were already anthropology minors who decided to add the major once it became available.

He pointed out that anthropology isn’t a degree students usually come into college wanting to pursue.

“One of our best ways to attract students is through the core,” he said. “It happens all the time, in fact.”

While the majority of undergraduate anthropology students pursue graduate school, it’s not a necessity.

Strezewski said students with bachelor’s degrees can work at museums, historical sites or in cultural resource management.

“For example, if the city of Evansville needs an excavation done as part of project, such as a cemetery that needs to be moved, they contract that out to a business that does archeology,” he said. “In fact, I have two students working at a cultural resource facility we have here in town right now. So students can do those kinds of things with a bachelor’s degree.”

Good candidates for the degree know how to write and communicate well, and they should have an appreciation for other cultures, Strezewski said.

“It tends to attract a higher caliber of students,” he said. “We want people who are curious.”

Environmental Science Adviser Bill Elliott said the reason the degree requirements are not laid out on USI’s bulletin is a registrar issue.

But Strezewski said he has already run a few DARS (degree evaluations) this week, and it worked just fine.

“Currently the registrar’s office is in the process of creating banner codes for the environmental science program,” Elliott said.

He said the next step is to get the bulletin materials online, but in the meantime, students interested in pursuing the degree should contact him.

“I think the word is going to get out,” Elliott said.

The Geology and Physics Department is in the process of creating brochures that will highlight the program and be distributed around campus.

“There are a lot of job opportunities available in environmental science,” Elliott said. “Students seeking a bachelor’s degree are really setting themselves up for the workplace or the option to seek an advanced degree.”

Students who are interested in the degree program should see Elliott. “Right now, this is the place you want to go,” he said. No new faculty has been hired for either program. The majors were granted final approval at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s June 13 meeting.

Shannon Hall contributed to this story.

Click on the following for the requirements:

Environmental Science Degree Requirements

Anthropology Major Requirements