University of Wyoming students may soon be able to obtain a degree in natural resources recreation and tourism.

The proposal for the new degree program was presented to the UW Board of Trustees during their meeting Thursday, by a number of Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources faculty, including Dean Melinda Harm Benson, Natural Resources and Tourism degree coordinator Dan McCoy and Director of Academic Programs Dr. Doug Wachob.

Wachob said much work has already gone into researching the degree, including statewide listening sessions with stakeholders, surveys of employers in the region, thorough market research and research into similar degrees at 18 different universities.

Wachob said the proposed degree has already received positive responses from stakeholders and employers.

“We’ve had really enthusiastic support from a wide range of stakeholders,” Wachob told the trustees during the presentation.

Wachob said the degree would expand and diversify Wyoming’s economy and would turn students into Wyoming’s economic leaders.

The degree program would consist of 27 to 30 courses, but Wachob said only 11 of those would be new. Wachob said the degree program would be interdisciplinary, drawing on courses from other programs and colleges such as the College of Business.

Students in the degree track would be able to choose between a number of focuses – hospitality and business management, recreation resource management, outdoor recreation leadership and cultural and international tourism.

Trustee John MacPherson said the degree program would go a long way in helping diversify Wyoming’s economy and would be complimentary to Governor Matt Mead’s ENDOW initiative.

“This is lockstep with what the governor wants,” MacPherson said.

Wachob said they are hoping to have the degree program instated by the fall 2018 semester, with temporary and adjunct faculty and staff. Benson said the degree needs to show it can get enrollment before it can hire tenure-track positions. However, Benson said she is very optimistic that the degree will very quickly attain the enrollment needed to hire tenured faculty.

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