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Environmental science and engineering in the 21st century involves engaging multi-disciplinary efforts in the engineering, sciences, mathematics, humanities, law and education communities — efforts that focus on collaborative research in key areas where advances and innovations will require the knowledge and perspectives of multiple disciplines, developing and improving educational alliances among these communities, and applying multi-disciplinary expertise to problems of increasing societal importance and complexity, both in the U.S. and worldwide. The reasons for these efforts are compelling. Projected population growth within the U.S. and worldwide over the next several decades will lead to demands for Earth resources, including habitable space, at unprecedented scales, and with this an equally unprecedented need for strategies aimed at achieving the sustainable use of these resources. These environmental issues, however, involve much more than the technical nuts and bolts of the natural and physical sciences and engineering; they reach deeply into our very social fabric. Strategies aimed at success must therefore engage these nuts and bolts of the sciences and engineering, and key areas of the social sciences and humanities, law and education. Moreover, national leadership in these issues during the 21st century will come from individuals capable of excelling in their chosen specialties — whether in science or engineering — yet possessing the skills and a flare for communicating effectively across disciplines. The Environmental Science program, then, is aimed at providing an intellectual setting at Vanderbilt for educating our Nation’s next-generation leaders in the field of Environmental Science.
This program represents an innovative, nationally distinguished alliance between the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering (School of Engineering) and Earth and Environmental Sciences (College of Arts and Science). Building on strengths in these departments, together with growing synergies between them, the Environmental Science program is committed to nurturing student interests that represent the intersection of traditional and emerging engineering and Earth-science fields. It is a program dedicated to a mission of training students wherein they acquire versatile, adaptable skills and are therefore poised to excel in a diversity of career opportunities in all sectors of society.
John C Ayers - Chair
Douglas E Adams - Chair