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College of the Coast and Environment

A Brief History of the Department


The Department of Environmental Sciences (formerly the Department of Environmental Studies) has been officially designated as a department by Louisiana State University since July 2001.

The origins of this academic unit extend well back into the last century. From the 1930s until the late 1970s it was known as the Salt Dome Research Institute. One of its interesting missions was to study the applicability of salt domes as potential storage sites for radiological waste disposal in the 1960s. Finally, early in the 1980s its mission was transformed to include more environmental, ecological and human health risk issues.

As a result of changes in mission and emphasis, the Salt Dome Research Institute was renamed the Institute for Environmental Studies.

Consequently, the Institute of Environmental Studies developed a Master of Science degree program in 1985 and began training graduate students. After 20 years of training graduate students, the Institute of Environmental Studies was officially recognized as an academic unit on the LSU campus and renamed the Department of Environmental Studies in 2001.

In 2008, the Department was renamed the Department of Environmental Sciences. It is one of the two academic departments within the College of the Coast and Environment (CC&E) formerly known as the School of the Coast & Environment (SC&E) and has conferred more than 300 M.S. degrees since 1985.


Strategic Plan


(Click here for pdf file)

On September 26, 2009, faculty, student representatives, and representatives from the School of the Coast and Environment met in a day-long retreat to discuss the strategic plan for the Department. The following is a brief summary of the updated vision and mission statements and the list of strategic goals.


To become the nation’s premier research and educational department in environmental sciences.


The mission of the Department of Environmental Sciences is to educate students, create knowledge, and conduct outreach to the public pertaining to environmental problems, with an interdisciplinary focus on complex human and natural systems.

Core Values

As an academic department of environmental sciences in a state flagship university, we strive to develop synergy, increase holistic integration, and be responsive to societal needs. Through our research, education, and service, we aim to promote and contribute to:


Strategic goals (next 3 years)

To educate graduate and undergraduate students and to offer professional educational opportunities:

Task 1: To establish the PhD in Environmental Sciences program.

Task 2: To increase enrollment and student contact hours through Streamlining existing curriculums and course offerings

Task 3: To expand educational opportunities by collaborating with other  academic programs both on and off campus and offeringprofessional educational opportunities.


To conduct basic and applied research that is focused on understanding and solving specific environmental problems:

Task 1:To increase publications in high-impact outlets through targeted journal submissions and collaborative research.

Task 2: To increase grant support through increased grant submissions and collaboration 

Task 3: To increase support for students through fellowships, grants, and contracts

To provide public service for solving environmental problems in an economically sound manner, and for resolving environmental conflicts:

Task 1: To increase our national recognition through service and active participation in professional organizations and learned societies. 

Task 2: To support efforts in expanding name recognition of the School of the Coast & Environment

Task 3: To increase communication with alumni, students, stakeholders, and the public by developing an effective communication plan


To increase opportunities for faculty, staff, and student development, and to stimulate professionalism: 

Task 1: To actively nominate faculty, staff, and students for appropriate awards and professional enhancement activities 

Task 2: To identify list of organizations for student internships

Task 3: To support student organizations such as Environmental Graduate Organization (EGO) and promote professional development of students

Task 4: To develop a recruitment plan for next key faculty hires 

Task 5: To creatively increase faculty size and participation in our educational and research programs 

Task 6: To reach out to alumni through increased communications 

Task 7: To increase fundraising and endowments by identifying potential donors and establishing advisory boards 

Task 8: To increase cohesiveness of the department through collaborative research, seminar series, and social activities