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This program description is part of a collection of institutional models which explore ways of bringing a geoscience-informed approach to sustainability to a diverse range of disciplines, institutions, and networks. These model programs also provide the documentation and resources necessary to help other groups implement similar programs.
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Gustavus Adolphus College -- Climate Across the Curriculum

Dr. Julie Bartley, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Laura Triplett, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. James Dontje, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Jeff La Frenierre, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Tom Huber, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Michele Koomen, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Cindy Johnson, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Chuck Niederriter, Gustavus Adolphus College
Dr. Anna Versluis, Gustavus Adolphus College
Initial Publication Date: September 23, 2014


The Gustavus Adolphus program connects faculty with climate science expertise (Developers) with non-expert faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines (Hosts) to create a series of lessons (mini-modules) that introduce climate science content into non-geoscience courses. These faculty began working together in small, interdisciplinary teaching circles, which led to Developer-Host pairs who worked together to design mini-modules for existing non-geoscience courses. The implementation of these mini-modules has expanded the number of students on our campus that are exposed to climate science topics and who have discussed climate change issues from a variety of perspectives. This project also represents a workable model for supporting interdisciplinary teaching. As of 2016, faculty members from nine departments have hosted mini-modules, developed in coordination with climate science specialist faculty members from six departments and programs.Read more about the Environmental
Studies Program at Gustavus »

About the Program

Teachers in many disciplines want to teach about some aspect of climate change in their courses, but they may fail to do so for a variety of reasons. In this project, we used teaching circles composed of diverse faculty members to identify barriers to climate teaching and to brainstorm approaches that would remove those barriers. Following each teaching circle, we paired "host" faculty members who had no expertise in climate science with "developer" faculty members from the natural sciences. Each pair worked to identify the climate literacy principle(s) that was needed to advance the host faculty member's learning goals in a pre-existing course. Then, the host and developer faculty designed and implemented a 'mini-module' that promotes climate literacy within the context of each course's themes, pedagogy and desired outcomes. The initial mini-module delivery was done with the developer as guest instructor; subsequent use of the mini-module material would generally be the responsibility of the host faculty member.

Program Goals

  1. Identify and remove barriers for faculty incorporation of climate-related content in courses outside the geosciences.
  2. Develop climate science primers and modules for use by non-specialist faculty in existing non-geoscience courses in the humanities, social sciences, arts and natural sciences.
  3. Implement modules in existing Gustavus courses and assess the impact on student climate literacy.

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This program description is part of a growing collection of models of ways to bring learning about the Earth to a diverse range of disciplines, institutions, and networks, as well as provide the documentation and resources necessary to help other groups implement similar programs..
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