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BOV approves UAP degree restructuring

By Julie Kane

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 12 - November 14, 1996

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has approved proposals to restructure degree programs in the department of urban affairs and planning (UAP) within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS). To better serve students needs, urban affairs and planning proposes to change the name of the bachelor of arts in urban affairs to a B.A. in public and urban affairs. Additionally, the bachelor of science in public administration would be converted to a B.S. in environmental policy and planning.

According to CAUS Dean Patricia K. Edwards, "The restructuring would offer a broader range of interdisciplinary pursuits for students without the need for additional resources, faculty members, or courses. These revisions would serve a number of very important university objectives, such as improving faculty productivity and updating programs to reflect changes in the field of study," she said. "In addition, it would internationalize the curriculum and provide substantive opportunities for cross-college collaboration in instruction, research, and service.

The proposed B.A. in public and urban affairs would essentially be a social-science degree with a professional cast," Edwards said. "It would educate students in the broad liberal-arts tradition while equipping them with the necessary skill, knowledge, and analytical thinking to find meaningful employment or to pursue graduate education in today's competitive market."

The proposal would reduce the existing major credit hours to enable students to complete the degree more easily in four years. The degree would offer concentrations coordinated by the participating programs in the recently established School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), including urban studies, public policy, environmental affairs, public and non-profit management, and development in a global perspective.

The proposed B.S. in environmental policy and planning (EPP) offers a university-wide interdisciplinary degree that is the product of more than three years of study. The curriculum draws from courses in 21 departments in six colleges, and is held together by 10 UAP classes including two capstone courses.

Having been approved by all relevant college and university review bodies and the Board of Visitors, the proposal will be sent to the State Board of Higher Education for further review. If approved in a timely manner, the new degrees would be effective fall 1997.