Enhancing Social Awareness in Global Climate Changes in a Minority Serving Institution
NJCU is a federally recognized minority institution (Hispanic Serving Institution, HSI), with a diverse student body (37% Hispanic, 25 % White, 20% African-American, 8% Asian and 10% other). Education at the university is increasingly focusing on hands-on, student-centered learning. As such the Department of Geoscience/Geography is aiming at designing new courses specially addressing the needs of recently introduced General Education Program. Primary learning objectives of the program are to enhance students' social awareness and scientific knowledge in global issues, while improving their critical thinking and reasoning skills. With this in mind, the course titled “Past and Future Climate Changes” will be offered as a capstone course. The course will not only meet the GenEd requirements, but also specifically designed to prepare future teachers of Earth Systems Science.
The primary objectives of the course include: a) helping students to understand the key concepts of the Climate System as part of the Earth System Science and potential interactions of its component spheres; and b) introducing natural and anthropogenic forcing agents and mechanisms regulating global climate system; and c) discussing potential impact of these agents on the environmental and human health. Students will be able to retrieve and analyze real-world data. At the end of the course, students are expected to evaluate scientific evidence and explanations, and to understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge.