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Fueling an understanding of rising global environmental issues is the focus of a unique new class required of all incoming and transfer students beginning next spring at Old Dominion University.

The course, GEN 101, titled "New Portal to Appreciating Our Global Environment" - or "NewPAGE" - will be required for all students with fewer than 12 transfer credits. NewPAGE may be used to fulfill one of the general education requirements and individual departments may determine which requirements the course may replace.

Headed by Dwight Allen, eminent professor of educational foundations, NewPAGE is a three-credit, multidisciplinary course that requires freshmen to examine critically some of the major environmental issues facing the world today. The course will introduce students to rigorous academic investigation through a tightly monitored series of readings, lectures and discussions. They'll also hear lectures by leading thinkers on environmental issues.

NewPAGE will consist of one large lecture each week at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center, followed by two discussion sections. Individual units of study, or themes, developed by each of ODU's academic colleges will highlight for students the complexities and interrelationships of natural, societal, philosophical, aesthetic, engineering, educational and health issues in the environment.

About 2,000 students are expected in the class, which also will employ 33 graduate teaching assistants.

Themes and their instructors include:

"Cost-Benefit and Risk Analysis in Decision Making" - Dwight Allen and Ann Schwarz-Miller, Department of Economics

"Global Change Through Time" - Richard Whittecar, Department of Ocean Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

"Population and Environmental Justice" - Chris Drake, Department of Political Science and Geography

"Environmental Resources" - Tom Allen, Department of Political Science and Geography

"Environmental Impacts on Human Health" - James English, Department of Environmental Health

"Sustainable Development" - Mujde Erten-Unal, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

"Environmental Literature" - Roseanne Runte, president, Old Dominion University.

More information on NewPAGE is available on the Web at www.odu.edu/newpage.

This article was posted on: July 13, 2004

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