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Board of trustees tweaks toxicology, psychology

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 00:01

The USU Board of Trustees met Jan. 3 and voted on changes to the toxicology graduate program and the psychology teaching major.

The board voted to terminate the psychology teaching major in the psychology department in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

“A psychology teaching major is not all that helpful to students who want to be high school teachers,” said Gretchen Peacock, psychology department head.

Discussion about this change has been going on for at least a year. Peacock said the main reasons for the change in the department stem primarily from the lack of both the availability and need for teachers who would exclusively teach psychology.

Peacock said psychology students who want the credentials to teach in high school would be encouraged to either minor in teaching or to dual-major in an additional subject. She said this second option should make them more marketable for any available jobs.

According to Peacock, the impact will be minimal because there are fewer than three students a year who join the program.

“My understanding is that they would be able to complete their degree,” Peacock said regarding the students currently in the program.

The changes to the toxicology program proposed by the board will also have little effect for students in the program. It was voted to terminate the interdisciplinary toxicology program and replace it with an identical program in the animal, dairy and veterinary sciences department in the College of Agricultural Science.

“Our department has the nucleus of the faculty for the program,” said Dirk Vanderwall, interim department head of the ADVS department.

For the graduate students currently enrolled in the program, the change should be seamless. Also, undergraduate students wishing to take toxicology courses will still be able to enroll through the ADVS department.

The interdisciplinary toxicology program was started in the 1960s and had components in the colleges of Agricultural Science, Natural Resources, Science and Engineering, Vanderwall said. However, with changes in faculty due to retirement and departure, the ADVS department has become the primary component of the program.

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