Developing an Online Climate Studies Course for a Small HBCU

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
D.R. Buffinger, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH

Wilberforce University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is the oldest, private, historically Black university in the United States. It was founded in 1856 under the direction of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It has a deep commitment to provide academically excellent and relevant higher education, particularly for African-American men and women. This commitment aims at increasing the probability of success in college and subsequent careers for all individuals. The mission of Wilberforce University is the development of a total person. Central to this mission is the preparation of students for leadership in today's complex job market and society at large. The University offers 17 major areas of study and one graduate program in rehabilitation. Wilberforce University is a signatory of the American College & University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) which serves as a component of the green initiative at the institution. Wilberforce University is committed to developing Climate Literate Citizens. In order to accomplish this goal, one science faculty was selected to teach a climate studies course developed by the AMS. This faculty member was accepted into the second annual AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project workshop in Washington, D.C. which was held May 19-24, 2013. This workshop was extremely useful for those faculty who are not active in the climate field by providing resources concerning the climate, experiences with those in the climate field and finally useful contacts needed for successful implementation of the course. The course has been titled Global Climate Studies (3 credit hours) and has been approved through the appropriate channels to be used as one of the electives offered to all Wilberforce University students to fulfill their requirement in the Global Culture and Issues category of General Studies. Although the AMS has provided the generic shell of the course, the faculty member has had to modify it to suit Wilberforce University and the desired delivery format (an online course). The course will be offered initially in the Fall of 2013 as a blended course to ensure that it has been successfully modified for this format. Starting in the Spring of 2014, the course will be delivered to the students in the completely online format. The presentation will examine how easily the course was modified to suit both institutional need as well as online delivery.