New minors address global challenges

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Renewable Energy

Two interdisciplinary minors, in sustainability and in energy studies, will be offered to all undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame beginning this fall.

“The only way that we can confront some of the most difficult challenges facing humanity today is with an interdisciplinary perspective,” said Jessica Hellmann, associate professor of biology and chair of the committee that developed the sustainability minor. “One of the really compelling things about the sustainability minor is that its gateway course will be taught by several faculty from different fields who will debate and share complex ideas with students in the classroom.”

“Meeting the world’s energy demands in an environmentally responsible fashion is arguably one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century,” said Rebecca Hicks of the Sustainable Energy Initiative, who will oversee the energy studies minor. “We feel that to meet this challenge, Notre Dame must play a key role in preparing leaders from all disciplines who understand the complexity of it.”

Both minors include required coursework, electives selected from a broad multi-college list of course options, and a capstone experience. The energy studies minor will have both a technical track and a non-technical track to meet the needs and interests of as many students as possible.

Contact: Rachel Novick, Office of Sustainability,

Originally published by Rachel Novick at on April 08, 2011.