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Climate Variability & Change

A campaign to improve teaching and learning about global climate change will be implemented at Dickinson College, a 4-year liberal arts college located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and selected community colleges in the region. The partner community colleges are Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania, Montgomery College in Maryland, Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, and Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania. Dickinson has articulation agreements with each of these partner schools to encourage and facilitate the advancement of their students to a 4-year liberal arts degree program following completion of a 2-year degree. The Center for Climate System Research at Columbia University and the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, a NASA Earth Science Data Center that is also located at Columbia University, will participate in the campaign to assist with training activities for members of the faculties of the participating colleges. The participating schools will jointly implement a comprehensive, multifaceted campaign to build teacher competency for interdisciplinary teaching about climate change, enhance capacity for using NASA models and Earth observations in teaching and research, develop and implement a core curriculum of climate change-focused courses that promotes systems thinking, and integrate climate change more widely throughout the liberal arts curriculum. The campaign will encompass and integrate Earth system sciences and human dimensions of climate change. Elements of the planned campaign include a faculty study group for collaborative professional and curriculum development, training workshops on Earth system models and observational data, enhancement of capacity to use remote sensing data in teaching and research, and support of individual projects for professional development, curriculum development, and student-faculty research. This comprehensive approach to capacity building and curriculum development is modeled after, and will be implemented in conjunction with, a college-wide initiative that is integrating sustainability education across Dickinson’s liberal arts curriculum. Anticipated outcomes are increased competency of science, social science, and humanities faculties for interdisciplinary teaching about climate change from a systems perspective using effective pedagogies and NASA science, data, and models; increased Climate Literacy of students completing 2- and 4-year degrees in the liberal arts that prepares them for climate change related employment, continued study toward a higher degree, and/or informed participation in public decision-making for managing climate risks; increased numbers of students who go on from a 2-year degree to a 4-year degree in fields related to climate change; and strengthened collaboration between Dickinson College and the partner community colleges. Attainment of these outcomes will be evaluated based on faculty self-assessments, measures of student performance, student focus groups, and longitudinal data on students’ future education and employment. The campaign will be managed by Dickinson College’s new Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. Co-investigators from the partner colleges will coordinate activities on their campuses and serve on the Climate Change Curriculum Task Force, which will guide development and implementation of the core curriculum of climate change-focused courses.

Project PI: Dr. Neil Leary/DICKINSON COLLEGE

Dickinson College 106, Kaufman Building Carlisle PA 17013-2896

Phone: 1-717-245-1954

Email: learyn@dickinson.edu

http://www.dickinson.edu/academics/distinctive-opportunities/sustainability-education/

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 14, 2011

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