“We are living a very important time for the environment. I think that for many young people, environmental issues, either climate change or the biodiversity crisis, are very important questions as these define how the world of tomorrow will be” Dr Emilio Pagani-Núñez, the programme director of environmental science mentioned that environmental scientists are trying to address these problems and offer solutions.
To address these challenges, our society is going to need a lot of trained environmental scientists, people who has a general idea of which are the main environmental issues, which are the key problems to solve, as a fundamental step to build an ecological civilization in China and the rest of the world.”
What can you learn in the department of Health and Environmental Science?
Students can learn practical skills from a range of subjects and they can have their own focus of study, such as ecology, environmental chemistry or environmental engineering. They will also have the opportunity to learn many scientific techniques and to operate with many different types of lab instruments. Undergraduates in our programme will acquire a very comprehensive idea of different aspects of the environment, such as the chemistry of the atmosphere and the soils, the ecology of plants and animals, and environmental policies in China and around the world. In doing so, undergraduates will have the chance to investigate solutions to the biodiversity crisis and the most urgent environmental issues.
“In our department, we investigate agricultural systems, conservation policy and all the topics within the ecology stream. In the environmental pollution stream, we focus on soil remediation, how to eliminate pollution, how to help farmers to produce cleaner crops and so on” Dr Emilio Pagani-Núñez said.
“In the previous year, I led students to do field work in Liyang, Jiangsu Province, to identify aquatic invertebrates in streams and assess water quality, bringing the module’s knowledge into practice” Dr Emilio Pagani-Núñez said that module leaders will systematically organize a variety of activities every year.
In addition to learning in class, students also have many opportunities to participate in field trips to different places to collect samples in the field. They will understand the real world not only by reading about things in books or staring at a computer but by conducting practical activities.
What changes will the new curriculum bring?
Starting from the 2021-2022 academic year, the Department of Environmental Science will implement a new curriculum divided into two streams, ecology and environmental pollution. This new curriculum helps to emphasize the strengths of the department and provide more targeted teaching for undergraduates based on a complete understanding of the environment. At present, the new curriculum only applies to undergraduate studies. Before the start of the third year, undergraduates must choose one of two streams, ecology or environmental pollution.
Environmental sciences is about identifying problems and finding solutions bringing together a large number of disciplines and approaches. I believe that starting such courses in the third year will allow students to make informed decisions after they have determined their preferences” Dr Emilio Pagani-Núñez said.
This curriculum change is also made in consideration of the fact that it is a better way to match the skills and expertise of teachers to meet the needs of undergraduates, and at the same time, feedback on the course will also be collected on a systematic basis to understand students' opinions on the new curriculum.