Officials believe a new degree program offered for the first time this fall will give students the tools they will need to solve some of the nation’s most difficult and most important problems.

The bachelor of integrated studies with an emphasis in sustainability, society and resource management is an interdisciplinary approach that combines skills and knowledge from biology, communication, geography and social sciences. It is designed to prepare graduates to work in a variety of public community settings that are responsible for resource management and policy.

“More and more cities, agencies and organizations are looking for people with interdisciplinary skills to direct and oversee their sustainability efforts,” said Dr. Jim Triplett, a University Professor in the Department of Biology.

Graduates of this program, according to Triplett, will work in areas where ecological, social and political issues intersect. It is an area, he said, where conflict can easily arise over the management of limited resources, which is one reason why the program includes communication and social sciences components.

Triplett said students were showing keen interest in the new degree program, even before it was formally approved by the Board of Regents.

“This is a good example of the ways in which we are preparing students for problems that haven’t been created yet,” Triplett said.