OVERLAND PARK — As the economy pulls out of a recession, the University of Kansas Edwards Campus is adding complementary degree programs in environmental assessment and exercise science, in response to new Kansas City-area job opportunities in those fields.
“Consistent with the KU Edwards Campus mission, our newest program additions will keep us ahead of the curve and equip students to take advantage of employment opportunities in the community and the region,“ said David Cook, KU Edwards Campus vice chancellor.
Currently KU offers an emphasis in exercise science under the umbrella of sports medicine. The change in degree status elevates the program.
“There are many career opportunities in personal training, strength coaching and the health and fitness industry,” said Joseph Weir, chair of KU’s Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences. “The exercise science bachelor’s degree at KU Edwards also is designed to prepare people for further clinical training in physical therapy, medicine and physician assistant studies, all without leaving the Kansas City area.”
Correlating with the trend in environmentally conscious communities and businesses, KU Edwards also is adding a professional science master’s in environmental assessment. This degree is the first of its kind in the area and is designed for graduates of bachelor’s programs in physical, natural and environmental sciences as well as engineering and related fields.
“Given the trend in environmental consciousness in businesses, the need for professionals with this education and expertise will only continue to increase,” said Mark Jakubauskas, director of the environmental assessment program. “KU Edwards is the most convenient location for this degree for Kansas City-area students, who will get the degree they need to continue on a successful career path.”
The focus of this program will be on environmental impact assessment, including soils, water and ecosystem science, as well as environmental law, policy and the regulatory environment. It is one of several offerings on the Edwards Campus from the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
KU Edwards Campus research shows an expected increase in demand from government agencies and privately owned companies, including engineering firms, regional planning agencies and other entities, for people with environmental assessment expertise.
Both new degree programs are funded by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle tax, enacted in November 2008.
The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings the high-quality academic programs, research and public service benefits of KU to the greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of the region.