An Energy and Society program has significant value to any liberal arts institution. Our world today is far more energy intensive than any other time in history, and our energy use is only continuing to grow further. While added energy consumption generally coincides with improved quality of life, continuing to increase worldwide energy consumption will also cause unique challenges in the future. By instituting a program in Energy and Society, Allegheny College will provide students with a wide range of energy-specific studies that will better prepare them to understand and adapt to these challenges.
Additionally an interdisciplinary Energy and Society program would provide valuable skills outside of specific field of study, which is consistent with the mission of Allegheny College. This interdisciplinary study would develop a skill set that would be particularly valuable to those students interested in community engagement both while at school and for the rest of their life. Specifically students will practice skills in real-world problem solving and analysis, verbal and written communication, and sensitivity to the viewpoints and needs of those from different cultures or backgrounds.
To develop these skills, an Energy and Society program would certainly involve several different departments on campus. Course selections would generally be broken into two major components: scientific, technical courses and social science courses. The technical courses would likely involve departments like Physics, Environmental Science, and potentially Psychology. Social science courses would likely include departments like History, Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Economics. Of course these classes may have some overlap, or involve unexpected departments, but this will be the most basic breakdown of curriculum. Interdisciplinary curriculum is one of the main priorities of the program.