In addition to feeling the heat from global climate change, the department also experienced the following changes: Undergraduates continue to join our major. In 2011-12, we graduated 20 students with a degree in what some fondly call “Com E Soc.” Among current students, a substantial number are combining our degree with another major and/or certificate program. Other majors include International Studies, Life Sciences Communication, Math, African-American Studies, Environmental Studies, Horticulture, Wildlife Ecology, and Spanish. Certificate programs include Global Cultures, Gender & Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, American Indian Studies, Jewish Studies, African Studies, and Global Health. Some students want an additional major or certificate because of the synergy with CES; others seek to balance their interests, and many desire additional leverage in a tough job market. Whatever the reason, we embrace the intellectual diversity this trend is bringing.
The cohort of students who joined our graduate program in Fall 2011 was the first admitted under a “full funding” model. As a consequence of admitting only the number of students for whom we could guarantee 5 years of funding, the “first year cohort” of 2011-12 was small. The faculty regret not being able to admit many well qualified applicants, but we understand the students’ need for financial security and additional peace of mind. It is a tradeoff we felt we had to make.
Physically the campus is continually changing. This summer saw the completion of the huge addition to the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) building–just yards away from Ag Hall’s east door. After a few years of construction sounds, we again delight in the sounds of children playing outdoors at the SoHE preschool. We also enjoy the ability to head east on sidewalks without having to first go west or south. New logistical challenges undoubtedly await us as the campus continues its infrastructure and superstructure upgrades. Happily (or not?) the department is probably pretty much as you left it. Come visit!