by Mintesinot Jiru (PhD),  Associate Professor and Chair,  Department of Natural SciencesCoppin State University

Building consensus around climate change issues is an arduous challenge as it requires significant public engagement. This takes a toll on higher learning institutions as they have to initiate and support the discussion and provide scientific data that present the climate reality.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is partnering with Second Nature to promote the importance of basic climate science education at colleges and universities in the US. As a signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) since 2008, Coppin State University took part in the Climate Studies Diversity Project Workshop that was held in the Washington, D.C. area in May of 2012. The workshop was not only informative but refreshing and hands-on in its entirety; it included field trips to NASA, NOAAand National Weather Services(NWS), and I found the experience to be enlightening and eye-opening.

Following the workshop, I was able to quickly get the course approval process routed at the different levels in our University and began offering the climate course during the Spring 2013 semester. In my first class, I had 17 students (sophomores, juniors and seniors); we really had a delightful and splendid experience as the course was not only thought-provoking but also well-balanced between theory and lab.

Students who took this class are actively engaged in campus-wide sustainability initiatives and are playing a crucial role in recruiting more sustainability ambassadors for the university. One of the course’s students actually became the President of the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS chapter (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) at Coppin State University. Another outcome from the introduction of this course to our campus was its impact on the implementation of the curriculum component of our 5- Year Climate Action Plan. As required by the action plan, we needed to introduce one sustainability-focused course, so the content and timing of the workshop opportunity was perfect.

Reflecting on my experience, I passionately attest that participating in the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project Workshop is not only a rewarding experience but also pressing as we ought to advance to build critical mass around climate consensus. I call upon fellow Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to come aboard on this journey.

The upcoming Implementation Workshop will take place in Washington, D.C. from May 18-23, 2014. Through the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project, minority-serving institutions nationwide are offered the following:

  • A five-day Implementation Workshop in Washington, D.C from May 18-23, 2014.  Travel, room, board, and instructional costs are covered, and also a $300 stipend will be provided
  • An opportunity to attend the 2015 AMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ from January 3-6, 2015. Some fees, travel, and lodging are covered.
  • Course implementation assistance by AMS program staff and instructors teaching in similar academic environments
  • Waived license fee for offering the climate course (normally $149 per year) for the first two years. Please complete the AMS Climate Studies Course License Order form and Diversity Project Application form, signed by an authorized institutional representative.

To apply, please complete the AMS Climate Studies Course License Order form and Diversity Project Application form, signed by an authorized institutional representative.

For questions and more information regarding the 2014 AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project, please contact Elizabeth Mills, Associate Director, AMS Education Program, via phone at 800-824-0405 or email at onlineclimate@ametsoc.org