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ECSU officials approve new curriculum programs


By Reggie Ponder
The Daily Advance

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ELIZABETH CITY — Elizabeth City State University officials have approved new curriculum programs in homeland security and sustainability studies.

The two new programs got a green light on Tuesday from the ECSU Board of Trustees, which is a key step in launching a new curriculum at the university. The two programs still must be approved by the University of North Carolina System and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

ECSU Provost Vann Newkirk told the ECSU trustees’ Academic and Enrollment Services Committee on Tuesday that the homeland security degree will prepare students for careers in homeland security, national security and intelligence. The curriculum is an especially good fit for ECSU because of the university’s proximity to the Coast Guard Base and its working relationship with the Coast Guard, according to Newkirk.

Homeland security would be ECSU’s second degree available entirely online. The first is interdisciplinary studies.

Because of the online format, students could pursue the degree from anywhere in the world where they could connect to the online courses. That will be particularly important for Coast Guard personnel and other members of the military who might be interested in the degree and who would be subject to being moved far away from the physical campus, Newkirk said.

Students in the homeland security program will learn about the role of intelligence and the effects of policy in securing the country from domestic and international threats and natural disasters, Newkirk said. The program is designed to provide students a broad understanding of global political, security and economic challenges and the role of domestic and international governments.

The program is tailored to the military, especially the Coast Guard, and is a niche program that should serve the university well, according to Newkirk.

Fall 2019 is probably the earliest the program could be offered, Newkirk said.

Newkirk said ECSU already has the faculty necessary to offer the program, so no investment in additional faculty would be needed to implement it.

ECSU also has the faculty needed for the other new curriculum the trustees approved on Tuesday — a bachelor of science in sustainability studies.

Newkirk said the degree would prepare students for jobs in the “green job market” such as renewable energy and would be the only four-year program of its kind in northeastern North Carolina.

The region has a growing presence of solar farms and wind turbines, Newkirk said.

The program in sustainability studies will enable ECSU to position itself “far ahead of the pack” in preparing students for jobs in the growing field of green energy, Newkirk said.

Trustee Harold Barnes asked whether “green energy” might be a better, more readily recognizable name for the curriculum rather than “sustainability studies.”

But Newkirk said “sustainability studies” is the nomenclature that’s being used elsewhere.

A similar degree at Appalachian State University is known as “sustainable technology.”