Climate Studies at a Small Community College

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Monday, 5 January 2015
Rick Wiedenmann, New Mexico State University, Carlsbad, NM

New Mexico State University-Carlsbad was established in 1950 as the State's first community college and is now one of four two-year branch campuses within the NMSU system. NMSU-Carlsbad currently serves more than 2,000 students. We are a small campus with a Science Department of only three full-time faculty. Over the past few years we have expanded our science offerings, most of which are taught by adjunct faculty recruited from the local scientific community. Due to the adjunct's normal work schedules and the limited lab space most of these new classes are taught online.

The Climate Studies course will be offered once a year at NMSU-C. The target group for the class will include students working towards and Associate of Science in Science degree education majors taking the course to get their science endorsement. The class will also be promoted to local teachers and employees of area land management agencies (USFS, BLM, and NPS). The implementation of the course will begin in the Spring of 2015. It will be offered as a four credit course using the AMS Climate Studies online text and Investigations Manual. The class will be online but there will be weekly optional face-to-face sessions offered to help students with any difficulties they might have interpreting data. We also have a dedicated science tutor who is available to help both in person and online.

New Mexico State University-Carlsbad is also a signatory of the ACUPCC, committed to scientifically necessary goals of climate neutrality. The pledged mission of the University is to increase climate awareness both on the University campus and within the local community. Offering the AMS Climate Studies class will be a part of this mission.

In May of 2014, I participated in the week-long AMS Climate Studies course implementation workshop in Silver Spring, MD. The workshop opened with expert speakers on topics such climate change and sustainability. There were also field trips to NASA and NOAA facilities. Seeing firsthand these facilities will enhance the instructor's abilities in discussing topics involving data and imagery from these sites. Researchers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center presented current NASA projects. Other Goddard highlights included their Science on a Sphere and visits to the Scientific Visualization Studio with presentations using their Hyperwall. At the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction speakers gave presentations on the center's mission and research. We visited Howard University's Beltsville Center for Climate Observation where we visited with faculty and students and observed some of their current research projects. We also had opportunities to visit the Smithsonian museums including the Ocean Hall exhibit at the National Museum of National History and National Air and Space Museum.

To wrap up the workshop, AMS staff gave excellent presentations on the on the Climate Studies materials. Another extremely valuable aspect of the workshop was networking with other instructors planning on implementing the AMS Climate Studies course materials along with a few who have done so already. It was great to hear of successes and find we share many of the same challenges. This interaction created a group of instructors that could be called on to share ideas and experiences as we implement the climate course.