Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.73
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date June 13, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Dickinson College
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Neil Leary
Director
Center for Sustainability Education
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A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

In 2009 Dickinson College launched Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum, A Campaign for Climate Change Education at 4- and 2-Year Colleges. The campaign, which is supported by a NASA Global Climate Change Education grant, joins Dickinson College with four community colleges and Columbia University to integrate climate change in the liberal arts curriculum, promote systems thinking about climate change, and build teacher competency for interdisciplinary teaching about climate change. Dickinson College leads this innovative project and Neil Leary, director of Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education, is the principal investigator. Partnering with Dickinson are Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg, PA; Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA; Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA; Montgomery College, Rockville, MD; the Center for Climate System Research, Columbia University, New York, NY; and the Socioeconomic Data and Application Center, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, Palisades, NY. Additional colleges and universities participate in the project by attending summer workshops that are organized and hosted by Dickinson College.

Elements of the campaign include a faculty study group for collaborative professional and curriculum development, training workshops on climate models and data tools, and faculty incentives for professional development, curriculum development, and student-faculty research. Twenty-five faculty members from 8 different colleges and universities, representing 12 different disciplines, participated in the 2010-2011 Changing Planet Study Group. The study group was launched with a 4-day workshop held in July 2010 on Dickinson’s campus. The purpose of the workshop was to assist participants in developing new courses or units for existing courses that are focused on or related to climate change. The workshop was organized and led by Dr. Neil Leary, CSE Director; Professor Jeff Niemitz, Earth Sciences; Professor Ash Nichols, English; and Professor Kjell Enge, Anthropology, all of Dickinson College. The workshop included presentations, hands-on exercises with data, role-playing exercises, small and large group discussions, and time for participants to work on their individual curriculum projects. Members of the study group continue to communicate and share information via a study group web-portal (http://www.trunity.net/changingclimate/) and a listserv.

A second workshop was held in summer 2010, which provided training in climate modeling and climate data analysis for use in undergraduate teaching. The workshop was attended by 21 faculty members from 11 different schools and 12 different disciplines. Dickinson College organized and hosted the workshop, while Dr. Mark Chandler and Dr. Linda Sohl of Columbia University and NASA/GISS, and Mr. Alex de Sherbinin, Socioeconomic Data Applications Center (SEDAC), Columbia University, conducted the training. Workshop participants worked with EdGCM, a NASA/GISS global climate model, and Terraviva-SEDAC, a software tool for viewing and integrating spatial climatic, environmental and socioeconomic data.

Outcomes of the past year’s workshops and study group at Dickinson include a new ‘green’ track in the physics major that emphasizes climate system dynamics and renewable energy; development of a 4-course, team taught program on climate change science, risks and policy that will be offered in fall 2011 and feature participation in the UNFCCC COP-17 conference in Durban South Africa; and integration of climate change into courses in American studies, anthropology, Earth sciences, English, environmental studies, international business, and social psychology. The other partnering schools have also developed and revised a substantial number of courses for raising climate literacy.

The workshops are being offered again in summer 2011 and a new cohort of faculty from Dickinson and other schools will participate in the workshops and study group. 41 faculty members from 28 different colleges and universities have registered to participate.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

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