InTeGrate Program Teaches Climate Science Across the Curriculum

Posted on December 7th, 2015 by

The InTeGrate program allows Gustavus faculty to incorporate environmental content across the curriculum.

The InTeGrate program allows Gustavus faculty to incorporate environmental content across the curriculum.

Gustavus Adolphus College is a recipient of a three-year STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) Center grant from the National Science Foundation. The College is currently in its third year of the $25,000 implementation grant through InTeGrate.

By working closely with climate science faculty members, non-geoscientist faculty are utilizing InTeGrate-based learning modules established through the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) based at Carleton College. These modules introduce key climate science concepts (CSCs) for courses in which climate science is not a main course topic, but for which the consequences and implications of climate change are important. Gustavus is bringing faculty across disciplines together to embed climate literacy in classrooms throughout the liberal arts curriculum in an effort to increase climate science literacy among the College’s students and faculty.

Gustavus is one of 13 colleges and universities to participate in the InTeGrate implementation programs. Other notable participants include Stanford and the University of Illinois-Chicago. The InTeGrate curriculum is uniquely arranged based on the college’s needs, and has resulted in the development of 16 models to bring geoscience to a diverse range of disciplines, institutions, and networks.

Gustavus geology professor Julie Bartley, who helped write the grant, explains the lasting value of  InTeGrate’s course modules. “After one or two deliveries of the climate science modules, professors are going to know how to present them on their own, and know how to pass it along to the students,” she said.

The InTeGrate implementation grant will help Gustavus to increase climate science literacy among the College’s students and faculty and improve student understanding of the implications of climate change in disciplines across the liberal arts curriculum at Gustavus by:

  1. Identifying and removing barriers for faculty incorporation of climate-related content in courses outside the geosciences.
  2. Developing 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. Implementing modules in existing Gustavus courses and assessing the impact on student climate literacy.

Some departments outside the geosciences that are using the integrated climate science modules include Scandinavian studies, health and exercise science, economics, and religion. Since the advent of InTeGrate, Gustavus has taught ten courses using these climate science modules.

InTeGrate will help Gustavus push forward in creating an interdisciplinary curriculum that the College strives for as a liberal arts institution.The College will complete the grant after this academic year, but plans on continuing to use climate science in different courses for years to come.

Religion professor Mary Gaebler experienced the InTeGrate curriculum firsthand in her Faith, Religion, and Culture course. “These are interconnected ideas,” she said. “The key objective is to push people to think about who they are and what matters to them. This helps them to articulate the purpose and meaning of their lives.”

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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