Xavier to offer a new Masters program in Urban Sustainability

By: Rich Meyer ~Staff Writer~

Students with interest in sustainability will be able to continue their education with a new opportunity coming to Xavier University next year.

The university is developing a new Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability and Resilience. The degree intends to educate students about issues surrounding urban sustainability. It is the first in a series of programs concerning sustainability that the university has begun introducing recently.

John Fairfield, Kathleen Smythe, Nancy Bertaux, and Becky Luce, all Xavier faculty members, along with students with interest in the field of sustainability have been discussing the best design for the program.

“The program is designed to support students going into business fields as sustainability coordinators, and a whole myriad of job titles that are designed to improve a company’s profits and corporate citizenship through enhanced sustainability outcomes, public policy and planning,” Director of Xavier’s Community Building Institute Liz Blume said.

“Students will have the backgrounds they need to focus careers on land use, transportation and regional systems, and environmental science students will be able to compete for management and decision making roles in organizations in energy, utilities, water and waste water, and other fields.”

The faculty behind the program believes that now is the best time to begin offering the degree because of new opportunities that have arisen in the field as well as to meet the needs for the dynamic area concerning urban sustainability.

“I think more and more professionals in the fields of business, public policy and planning and environmental science are going to need advanced degrees,” Blume said. “I think often an undergraduate (degree) is no longer considered a terminal degree for the kinds of jobs that are developing in the sustainability fields, and we wanted to help professionals prepare for the demands of these challenging issues and careers.”

The program is meant to have an impact on Cincinnati as a whole by teaching those who have an interest in sustainability in the urban context as well as to use the city as an asset for learning through experience. The university will be partnering with the Green Umbrella and Community Building Institute organizations to execute the program.

“Students will be in classrooms, out in Cincinnati and will also be required to complete an internship. We want students to be deliberate about professional development and creating the kinds of networks here and across the country that will serve their employment objectives.  One of the advantages to this program in this location is the great opportunities that will be available in the region to learn,” Blume said.”This program is designed to use Cincinnati and the larger Cincinnati region as the place of exploration and case study for better understanding.”