News | Academics

New masters programs added in sustainability and bioethics

If bioethics or sustainability is your game, Columbia School of Continuing Education is the place to be.

The Master of Science programs in Sustainability Management and Bioethics will be offered by Continuing Education in fall 2010 on both a part-time and full-time basis.

The University Senate approved the Bioethics program, developed with Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and University schools, on December 4. The senate had approved the Sustainability Management program, developed with The Earth Institute at Columbia, in mid-November.

“Columbia is proud to offer these programs that meld academic leadership, scientific rigor, and professional practice to form a unique and interdisciplinary community dedicated to making lasting advances in the growing fields of bioethics and sustainability practice,” Dean of the School of Continuing Education Kristine Billmyer said in a press release.

“We certainly strive to develop timely, cutting edge programs that are immediately applicable in the work place and in society,” George Calderaro, Director of Communications for the School of Continuing Education, added.

The Sustainability Management program, which is seeking about 25 students, was developed for people already in the workforce but is also open to graduating students. According to Vice Dean of Continuing Education Paul McNeil, the program was “conceived by The Earth Institute as an attempt to offer a part time program of study for people who are working in the field of sustainability management but who have no formal training.”

The Sustainability Management program prepares students to be leaders in implementing solutions to limit the degradation of resources and the production of waste, according to the release.

According to Calderaro, the Bioethics program targets three types of students: recent undergraduates who are planning to work in health care, students enrolled in another graduate degree program but wish to also pursue bioethics, and members of the workforce who want to earn another degree to enhance their professional practice. The program is seeking between 12 and 15 students for the fall 2010 semester.

Both programs have been in development for almost two years, according to McNeil.

Courses for both programs have already been developed, which is a requirement for programs seeking approval from the University Senate. Both programs also require 36 points to graduate.
Counting the two recent programs, the School of Continuing Education now offers 13 Master of Science programs. Programs are continually added, though unevenly. In 2006, the current record of four programs was established. In some years, Continuing Education founds no programs. For a program to be established, it must first be developed, approved by the school’s Committee on Instruction and all relevant committees in partnering schools, reviewed by the University Senate Education Committee and then approved by the entire University Senate.

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