The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management has an exciting partnership with the College of Education in offering a new undergraduate minor in Environmental Education. The minor is offered to students interested in building environmental literacy among pre-K through adult audiences. It has been a goal of Assistant Professor Kathryn Stevenson, the Administrator of the Minor, to create more opportunities in Environmental Education since she began working at NC State.
The idea of making Environmental Education part of the curriculum came before Kathryn got to NC State. Environmental Educator Renee Strnad and Tiffany McClean, the CNR Director of Recruitment and Student Engagement, had longed talked about how Environmental Education could better prepare CNR students for careers that include interactions with the public. Renee, who has worked in the field of Environmental Education for decades, had also been involved with the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program and hoped to give NC State students more opportunities to be connected with it. When Kathryn started her PhD at NC State studying environmental literacy, she joined discussions with Renee and Tiffany. Their shared desire to create more opportunities in Environmental Education continued in many discussions and prompted them to take it to the next level in 2016 when they coordinated a Summit within the campus community for those interested in EE.
Through the Summit, the College of Natural Resources and College of Education were established as having the most direct interest. This started a partnership lead by Kathryn and Renee from CNR and Dr. Gail Jones from the STEM education department in the College of Education. They created a long term vision of what a partnership could be and decided that their first step would be creating this interdisciplinary minor. They thought the minor would be a nice tie in with the state certification and would leverage what the state is already doing. In addition, it will give students the foundation to complete the state certification once they graduate.
The new minor has two new required courses in addition to the variety of elective options. The first one is with the College of Education, EMS 350 Teaching Methods in Environmental Education which is meant to be a cornerstone class taken at the beginning. The second is with PRTM, PRT 385 Environmental Education in Practice which will be a capstone course taught by Assistant Professor Stevenson with focus on professional development.