The University of Wisconsin-Superior will add a new bachelor of science major in public leadership and innovation in Fall 2021, according to a news release.

The new offering is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to design an interdisciplinary major that draws upon the strengths of the university's existing departments and faculty while creating an area of unmet need in the region, the news release said.

Lynn Goerdt, associate professor of social work and program coordinator, said the major will draw from disciplines including social work, political science, economics, First Nations, sustainable management, writing and history, among others. However, Goerdt said students in this area of study will focus on systemic issues and develop practical skills.

“While social work is about empowering individuals, and political science is at the 30,000-foot level of overarching change, the PLI major sits in between, preparing students to work toward solutions to community issues,” said Goerdt.

The major was designed with input from various community leaders and organizations that have pledged ongoing support for internships and hands-on learning opportunities. Focus groups composed of students, staff and community members provided feedback in the program design phase.

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“I am thrilled to see the care taken to craft an education experience that delivers on content, skill sets, and direct experiences for students on their way to be professional advocates, public leaders and community change agents,” said LeAnn Littlewolf, economic development director at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth.