School of Interdisciplinary Studies Expands Class Offerings

Dr. George Fair

Dr. George Fair

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) created one of UT Dallas’ most popular majors when it launched its healthcare studies program four years ago. Now, the school is adding new courses and faculty to expand healthcare studies and other programs.

This spring, the school is offering a new course, taught by Lea Aubrey, director of the University’s Student Health Center, on promoting health in multicultural populations. IS also has added faculty in its American studies program and a new course titled The Trial in American Popular Culture.

“We’re excited about the growth of our healthcare studies program, which has grown from 17 students in the fall of 2012 to more than 600 this academic year,” said Dr. George Fair, dean of IS and vice president of diversity and community engagement. “Our graduates have been accepted to a variety of professional schools to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry and many other health areas.

“We also want to highlight our other programs in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, including American studies,” he said.

IS also offers degrees in interdisciplinary studies and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. Last year, that program suffered the loss of longtime director Dr. Dachang Cong, who died after an illness. Cong also served as a faculty member and the school’s associate dean.

Dr. Andrew Busch

Dr. Andrew Busch

Dr. Andrew Busch, who earned his PhD in American studies at The University of Texas at Austin, became the director of the program in August. Previously, he taught at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

“American studies provides students with the broad intellectual and cultural perspectives as well as the critical thinking and communication skills that are in high demand among employers in a diverse range of fields,” Busch said. “American studies encourages students to develop a broad range of talents, and as such, prepares students for a vast array of rewarding careers, an ongoing intellectual life, and a greater understanding of American culture, values and relations with the world.”

Dr. Larissa Werhnyak

Dr. Larissa Werhnyak

In addition to Busch, Dr. Larissa Werhnyak, senior lecturer, joined the American studies faculty. Werhnyak previously taught at the University of Iowa, where she earned her PhD.

The school offers two other bachelor degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. Both degrees allow students to design degrees on an individualized basis. IS also operates the Teacher Development Center, which provides education courses and the opportunity for students to earn their teacher certification as part of their degree plan.

IS also offers minors in American studies, exercise sciences, environmental studies, gender studies and healthcare studies.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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