InTeGRATE-ing Geoscience Learning in Undergraduate Education
Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainability Ellen Metzger, San Jose State University [email protected] David Blockstein, National Council for Science and the Environment [email protected] This work is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) collaboration between the Directorates for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and Geosciences (GEO) under grant DUE 1125331 GOALS FOR THIS WEBINAR At the end of this webinar, participants will have:
greater familiarity with sustainability as a multidimensional concept that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. examples of teaching approaches and instructional materials that provide K-16 teachers and students with opportunities to investigate sustainability issues from multiple perspectives. information on the InTeGrate/NAGT Traveling Workshop Program and how to apply to host a traveling workshop for a department or interdisciplinary academic unit. What is Sustainability? No single, concise definition May be meaningfully conceptualized in terms of Providing opportunities for all over multiple generations
and multiple locations. three interconnected components: Environment, Economics, Society Geoscience students often have trouble recognizing the socioeconomic dimensions. Wikimedia Commons Preserving Opportunity Intragenerational and Intergenerational Equity wikimedia.org Wiki Commons
Unsustainability implies that humanity is collectively living in such a way as to diminish opportunities to live well in the future. Planetary boundaries according to Rockstrm et al. 2009 and Steffen et al. 2015. Beyond zone of uncertainty (high risk) In zone of uncertainty (increasing risk) Below boundary (safe) Boundary not yet quantified Wikimedia Commons Questions for you
Raise your hand if you teach about sustainability. Now un-raise your hand. Raise your hand if your teaching incorporates the social and/or economic dimensions of sustainability. Why Teach About Sustainability in Geoscience Courses? From America's Future: Environmental Research and Education for a Thriving Century: A 10-year Outlook . We are experiencing a time in which human society and
technology are increasing the pace and rate of environmental change in ways for which no precedent exists, and which have significant potential consequences. As both future scientists and future citizens, students need the understanding, skills, and problem-solving tools that prepare them for life, work, and citizenship in what the Association of American Colleges & Universities has called a world of unscripted problems(Schneider, 2015). Why is an Interdisciplinary Approach Imperative? The problems of sustainability arise at the intersection of complexly interacting and
co-evolving biophysical and socio-economic systems Teaching about the sciencerelevant aspects of sustainability in isolation from consideration of human values and social dynamics leaves students with a fragmented understanding POLL: How do you rate your overall level of comfort with teaching about the non-scientific aspects of sustainability? 1. 2.
3. 4. Not at all comfortable Somewhat comfortable Comfortable Very Comfortable The world is more wicked than our disciplines* Complexly interacting and constantly changing natural and human
systems Some characteristics of "wicked" problems as described by Rittel and Webber (1973). * Herb Childress, Dean of Research and Assessment at Boston Architectural College Complex socio-environmental issues are wicked Example: What are the consequences of the opening of the Northwest Passage
due to polar melting on: international relations, trade and other economic issues, further development of the https://commons.wikimedia.org Arctic, indigenous communities, This change in the physical Arctic ecosystems, and environment has significant ecological, future climate change? social and economic implications, each with its own complex processes,
feedbacks and outcomes. Complex socio-environmental issues are wicked InTeGrate Module: Future of Food Food systems involve many interacting human and natural components. Complex socio-scientific issues are wicked What are some economic and social impacts of climate change?
Complex Socio-environmental Issues Around the Food-Energy-Water Nexus Sample InTeGrate Materials Rethink the Science Society Interface Better Decision-Making Science Knowledge Facts
Society Values The traditional loading dock or linear model of science and decision-making. After Miller (2014) Knowledge Science Society Journal of Geoscience Education Theme Issue: Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainability
(Volume 65, Issue 2 (May 2017). A Brief overview from Ellen P. Metzger, David E. Blockstein, and Caitlin N. Callahan (2017) Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainability: An Introduction. Journal of Geoscience Education: May 2017, Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 81-85. Twelve contributed papers address: Sustainability education at multiple levels from K-12 teachers and students to undergraduates Informal and formal educational settings Incorporating Sustainability in Geoscience Teaching Some Common Approaches
1. engaging students in investigation of real-world problems 2. fostering systems thinking; 3. engaging students through a variety of collaborative, reflective, and experiential activities; 4. helping students to recognize the complexity of sustainability issues; 5. considering how human activities impact natural systems; 6. discussing not only problems, but also potential solutions; 7. place-based pedagogy; and 8. service learning Examples of interdisciplinarity: Across the Sciences
Timothy White, Adam Wymore, Ashlee Dere, Adam Hoffman, James Washburne and Martha Conklin: Integrated Interdisciplinary Science of the Critical Zone as a Foundational Curriculum for Addressing Issues of Environmental Sustainability Wikimedia Commons Examples of interdisciplinarity: Beyond the Sciences Emily O. Walsh & Erin Calhoun Davis: The Geology and Sociology of Consumption: Team-Teaching Sustainability in an Interdisciplinary First-Year
Seminar Ellen P. Metzger and Randall R. Curren: Sustainability: Why the Language and Ethics of Sustainability Matter in the Geoscience Classroom (Geology and Philosophy) Source: EPA Ethical Dimensions of Sustainability The search for solutions amidst a multiplicity of players inevitably leads to ethical quandaries. Case studies, student research, or news stories can used to help students develop awareness of sustainability-related ethical dilemmas and
hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Teaching GeoEthics Across the Geosciences Curriculum web site: resources for teaching about that relate to students' lives and to their responsibilities as scientists, citizens, and planetary stewards Future Directions (a small sample) More research is needed on the links between teaching about
socioscientific issues, science literacy, and students' attitudes How can curricula be modified to embrace sustainability concepts without sacrificing the traditional core content? How does one prepare educators to incorporate sustainability in their teaching? What is the evidence that integration of sustainability into geoscience education improves learning and attracts and retains students, especially diverse students, into the field? How does sustainability education affect the career prospects of students? References Cited
Miller, T.R., 2014. Reconstructing sustainability science: Knowledge and action for a sustainable future. Routledge. Ramaley, J.A. 2014. The changing role of higher education: Learning to deal with wicked problems. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 18(3):722. Rittel, H.W., and Webber, M.M. 1973. Dilemmas in a general theory of
planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2):55169. Rockstrm, Johan (26 October 2009). Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity [p resentation] (PDF), Stockholm Resilience Centre, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Master Class, Club of Rome General Assembly, 26 Oct 2009 Schneider, C.G. 2015. The LEAP challenge: Transforming for students, essential for liberal education. Liberal Education, 101(1/2):615. Steffen, W., et al. (2015). "Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet". Science. 347 (6223): 1259855. doi: 10.1126/science. 1259855.
A discussion session will follow Davids presentation.
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