184 Using Real-World Data to Train Faculty at Minority-Serving Institutions

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Wendy Abshire, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC; and I. W. Geer, E. W. Mills, K. A. Nugnes, and A. E. Stimach

Handout (2.6 MB)

In support of the Annual Meeting’s theme of “observations lead the way,” the Education Program highlights several initiatives that promote the use of real-world data while increasing diversity in the AMS-related fields.

The AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project introduces and enhances geoscience and/or sustainability-focused course components at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) that are signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and/or members of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation. AMS partnered with Second Nature, who manages and supports the ACUPCC and has been actively working with MSIs, to effectively recruit for the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project.

From 2011-2016, the Project introduced AMS Climate Studies to 101 faculty representing 90 MSIs. Each year a cohort of, on average, 25 faculty attended a course implementation workshop where they were immersed in the course materials, received presentations from high-level speakers and trained as change agents for their local institutions. This workshop was held in the Washington, DC area in collaboration with NOAA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Howard University, and other local climate educational and research institutions. Following, faculty introduced and enhanced geoscience curricula on their local campuses with AMS Climate Studies course materials, thereby bringing change from within. Via a National Science Foundation (NSF) no-cost extension, a fifth course implementation workshop will be held in May 2017.

Course materials for AMS Climate Studies include the “Our Changing Climate:  Introduction to Climate Science” eTextbook, eInvestigations Manual and the RealTime Climate Portal, all of which emphasize the use of real-world data to explore the climate system. For example, the course utilizes a brand new app from the AMS – the AMS Climate at a Glance (CAG) app. It draws data from NOAA’s Climate at a Glance website and allows users to distinguish between climate variability and climate change for hundreds of locations across the U.S. and on multiple time scales.

Faculty were then invited to the following AMS Annual Meeting to formally report on their AMS Climate Studies course implementation progress, reconnect with their colleagues, and learn new science presented at the meeting.

The AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project builds on highly successful, NSF-supported diversity projects for the AMS Weather and Ocean courses conducted from 2001-2008. Together, the three AMS courses have reached 220 MSIs and more than 25,000 MSI students.

The NSF-supported MSI-REaCH (Reconstructing Earth's Climate History) advanced faculty professional development workshop is another initiative that focuses on real-world data, specifically paleoclimate data gained through ocean sediment cores. Consortium for Ocean Leadership and several colleges and universities partnered with AMS to offer this workshop at the Gulf Coast Repository in College Station, TX. Sixteen faculty attended the workshop in 2015 and 15 in 2016, and formed a Plan of Action for incorporating paleoclimate study into their curricula and using research data with students.

In addition, the School of Ice workshop focuses on paleoclimate study through examination of the ice core record. Participants tour an ice core processing facility, observe university lab procedures and meet with experts who conduct research in polar regions. Two workshops have been held in Denver, CO, with 12 faculty members attending in 2015 and 12 in 2016. AMS partnered with the U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) to offer this workshop with financial support from Lockheed Martin.  

Both MSI-REaCH and School of Ice provide substantive professional development for MSI faculty, most of whom have participated in AMS Diversity Projects, and serve to enhance research-type experiences for students at participating institutions. The AMS is excited to continue to bring geoscience course work to more students, strengthening the pathway towards advanced geoscience study and careers.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner