1.1 Developing and implementing an applied climate program or emphasis: Questions you should ask before you jump in!

Monday, 18 July 2011: 10:30 AM
Salon C (Asheville Renaissance)
David Changnon, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL

Academic departments, whether rooted in atmospheric sciences or geography, are frequently faced with students seeking to develop a broader knowledge of climatology and the skills (e.g., communication, critical thinking, problem solving, analytical reasoning, and the ability to link information across disciplines) necessary to work with decision makers in various climate-sensitive sectors. In an effort to broaden the educational opportunities for these students, some departments have considered developing an applied climate program or emphasis. On the surface this academic exercise may appear straight forward, however, a number of issues should be addressed by faculty and campus administrators before this idea is put forward. Issues that departments must consider upfront include: 1) Is there a demonstrated demand for students with a B.S. degree in applied climatology? 2) What skills should a graduate from such a degree develop? 3) What courses should the academic program include? 4) Is there current expertise in the department, in other campus departments, or in other local/regional organizations that contribute to the development of an applied climatologist? This paper explores these issues and provides some suggestions for those departments considering such an expansion.
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