203 AMS Climate Studies Implementation at San Antonio College

Monday, 11 January 2016
John Strybos, Alamo Colleges - San Antonio College, Live Oak, Texas

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AMS Climate Studies Implementation at San Antonio College John W. Strybos, P.E., C.E.M. Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Lecturer San Antonio, TX San Antonio College (SAC) is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) with a headcount enrollment of approximately 20,000 students. The student population is diverse in ethnicity, age and income. This paper will discuss the challenges of introducing a new course into the San Antonio College curriculum. The established courses that cover the AMS Climate Studies course material have historically had low enrollments. One of the most significant challenges is informing the student population of the value of this class both in their academic career and in their personal lives. Another challenge is identifying a teaching format that is conducive to the diverse student population. One of the fastest growing enrollment groups at SAC is on-line students. The AMC Climate Studies course is uniquely suited to on-line students. The electronic textbook and on-line resources are critical to the success of an on-line class. The on line materials for the students and the instructors are essential for the learning objectives and learning outcomes to be measured and reported. Another sector of the increasing enrollment at SAC is Dual Credit students. Dual Credit students are junior and senior high school students taking college classes for college credit. These students are highly motivated and inquisitive. Dual Credit students typically expect electronic textbooks and on-line supplemental material. Dual Credit classes are taught at the students' high school or at an Early College High School on the San Antonio College Campus. The Dual Credit students are very aware of the changing environment and have an increasing persistence to understand why their environment is changing and how they can positively impact the changing environment by reducing their carbon footprint. The AMS Climate Studies program is uniquely prepared to address both of these types of students. By incorporating real world data at San Antonio College the students will be able to see the impact of climate change and how to address climate change. SAC has several unique projects with real data that will be used to supplement the course materials. These projects include three different solar panel installations, a solar hot water heater for the natatorium, participation in an energy demand response program, vending machine energy economizers, recycling and water harvesting. The data from these projects will be collected by the students and posted on line and then made available to other institutions. There are several elements within the AMS climate Studies program that are specifically applicable to the greater San Antonio area. In the most recent years San Antonio has been in the midst of an extended drought in which area lakes and the Edwards Aquifer, the primary drinking water source for the area, had their reserves drop significantly. Severe water rationing had become the norm. Then in the first six months of 2015, the San Antonio area receive the equivalent of an entire average year's rainfall. However in July 2015, the rain stopped and the drought has returned. The AMS Climate Studies program is designed to inform the students about why these wide variations in weather patterns are occurring at a local level. Climate change is no longer a problem in some other part of the world, it is a local problem requiring local solutions. In conclusion, this paper will discuss processes used to implement the AMS Climate Studies program at a Minority Serving Institution. The usage of local data to inform a diverse student population that has a critical need to understand climate change will be presented in the discussion. The AMS Climate Studies program is the key to educating these students.

Supplementary URL: http://alamo.edu/district/sustainability/climate-science/

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