4.3 Honors Course in Climate Change: An Interdisciplinary, Global Approach

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 11:00 AM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Logan Saucer, Florida International Univ., Miami, FL

Handout (6.2 MB)

Climate Change: Global Challenge, Local Impact is an interdisciplinary, year-long course designed and taught by faculty and students from The Honors College at Florida International University (FIU) during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. This presentation will provide an overview of the curricular design for students without an atmospheric science background in global climate change. The course engaged FIU’s Honors students with academic backgrounds ranging from biology to political science in discourse surrounding global climate change and its impacts on South Florida. Particular focus was given to climate change science, public policy, economics, finance, communications, media, popular culture, and ethics, with flexibility in the curriculum to entertain additional topics by students’ request. The course was designed using FIU’s “Global Learning for Global Citizenship” framework, implementing specific learning objectives and assessments designed to enhance students’ global awareness, global perspective, and global engagement. The first 6 weeks of the course’s first semester were dedicated to the science of climate change and its associated global impacts, followed by an additional 6 weeks of local impacts that included a field trip to the City of Miami Beach to address sea level rise. The second semester was dedicated to distinguishing science from pseudoscience, the visualization of scientific data, art-science, climate fiction, culture, and religion. Students completed a semester group project, “South Florida Changing,” to assess the courses’ learning outcomes. Project topics included climate impacts on South Florida agriculture (tomatoes in Homestead, FL), the spread of the aedes aegypti mosquito aided by a changing climate and the introduction of Zika virus to South Florida, and climate change portrayal in local news media. Students collected data, developed a field report, and presented their findings in class. They were awarded extra credit for presenting their research at the annual Conference for Undergraduate Research at FIU (CURFIU). By implementing this curriculum, students explored climate change in a way that they are unlikely to have addressed in their major-specific coursework. As important future stakeholders in global climate change, students were able to engage in the first steps of critical thinking and problem solving around global climate change challenges and solutions.

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