Higher Education: SIUE to offer environmental sciences degree

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Arts and Sciences will offer a bachelor’s degree program in environmental sciences beginning in the fall.

“There is strong demand for environmental scientists as public interest in the hazards facing the environment has grown dramatically,” said Zhi-Qing Lin, director of the environmental sciences program. “The increasing pressure placed on the environment and natural resources due to population growth is also expected to spur the need for environmental scientists and specialists.”

Students of the new program may choose a concentration in the areas of environmental health, environmental toxicology and environmental management.

“Students in environmental sciences have various opportunities to conduct research with faculty on diverse, multidisciplinary and cutting-edge research topics in the fields of environmental biology, chemistry, toxicology, technology and environmental policy,” said associate dean Bill Retzlaff. “Students are also encouraged to gain professional experience through community service, internships and other hands-on learning opportunities during their undergraduate careers.”

SIUE leaders said the school’s environmental sciences program is one of few in Southern Illinois that provides students with interdisciplinary and hands-on learning opportunities in the discipline.

“Giving undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with faculty, who are at the top of their field in environmental sciences, sets our program apart and provides the kind of quality academic preparation that today’s students demand,” dean Greg Budzban said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent during the decade ending in 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations in the United States. The median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists was $66,250 in May 2014.

For more information, contact the CAS Academic Advising Office 618-650-5525, or Lin at 618-650-2650 or

McKendree hopes to gain attention by taking on big schools in sports

McKendree University is trying to push the profile of the school higher by taking on nationally known institutions on playing fields, stages and at the lectern.

On Friday, the university’s men’s volleyball team will travel to New Jersey to take on Ivy League school Princeton. Recently, the school has also taken on nationally known schools including Ohio State and Loyala in sports and in academic activities including fencing, and speech and debate.

“As one of the oldest colleges in the Midwest, we are thrilled to compete against one of the oldest and most venerable universities in the East,” McKendree president James Dennis said. “It’s an affirmation of the esteem in which McKendree is held. Competing against Division I programs like Princeton, The Ohio State University and Loyola brings national recognition and exposure to the university.”

McKendree has used its sports programs and other extra-curricular activities in recent years to gain the attention of prospective students from across the country.

According to school leaders, the East Coast, Texas and Florida have been the source of an increasing number of new students attracted by McKendree’s academic programs combined with its extra-curricular activity opportunities.

SWIC to play host to senior art show

Talented artists from all across the metro-east will showcase their artwork in Life Experienced — A Senior Art Competition. Southwestern Illinois College and the St. Clair County Office on Aging are once again partnering with the Gateway East Artists’ Guild and Art on the Square for this unique art competition and exhibition. More than 60 artists 60 and older will showcase their artistic abilities in several different art categories.

The opening reception for this exhibit is from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Schmidt Art Center on the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave.

The exhibition is from March 4-7. It will be open:

▪  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday

▪  noon to 4 p.m. Saturday

▪  noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

▪  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday

For more information about the Life Experienced exhibition, call 618-234-4410, ext. 7081.