CAMEL Program for U.S. Climate Change Teaching

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has been awarded a three-year grant of $1,666,820 by the National Science Foundation (DUE-0950396) to create a nationwide cyber-enabled learning community for solutions to climate change to be known as CAMEL (Climate, Adaptation, and Mitigation e-Learning). CAMEL will engage experts in science, policy and decision-making, education, and assessment in the production of a virtual toolbox of curricular resources designed for teaching climate change causes, consequences, and solutions.

The project was developed by the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors <http://www.ncseonline.org/CEDD>  (CEDD), which is managed by NCSE.  The lead investigators on the project are David Hassenzahl (U. Nevada, Las Vegas), Arnold Bloom (U. California, Davis), Barry Benedict (U. Texas at El Paso), CEDD President Stephanie Pfirman (Barnard College, Columbia University), Jean MacGregor (The Evergreen State College), Andy Jorgensen (U. Toledo) and CEDD Executive Secretary David E. Blockstein (NCSE). Dr. Jorgensen took the lead in preparing the proposal as a Senior Fellow with NCSE during a recently completed sabbatical.

CAMEL’s objectives are to:

*        Assist faculty at institutions of higher education across the United States as they create, improve, test, and share resources for teaching students not only how to diagnose climate change problems, but also to identify and effect solutions;

*        Ensure that materials developed and shared are founded on the best available scientific information and follow the most appropriate educational practices;

*        Build a community of researchers, educators, and students engaged in teaching about climate change causes, consequences, and solutions;

*        Develop cyberinfrastructure that will support and promote the creation of materials and community; and

*        Evaluate the determinants of successful community building using cybermedia.

CAMEL will involve leaders in climate and solutions research and in curriculum and faculty development to integrate up-to-date content with state-of-the-art educational practice. The community and resultant content will range from general education to upper division courses for students in a variety of majors. The resources that are created will encourage faculty to learn from one another how best to involve students in a range of learning activities, including research. Furthermore, as expert contributors and the faculty learning community develop content and curricular resources, they will become available (in the NSCE online Encyclopedia of the Earth <http://www.eoearth.org/>  and at Cyber-ShARE <http://www.cybershare.utep.edu/> , an NSF CREST-funded Center of Excellence at the University of Texas at El Paso for sharing cyber-resources to advance research and education) for a nationwide and international community of faculty members to adapt, use, and evaluate. The ultimate goal of the project is to provide the opportunity for every college student to become educated about climate change: its causes, consequences, and solutions, and the personal, professional, and societal options for meeting the major challenges posed by this urgent problem.

The NSF grant follows a smaller grant from NASA, Creation and Dissemination of an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate General Education Course on Climate Change. Under this grant, faculty at more than 20 NCSE University Affiliates will (a) develop a virtual tool chest of curricular modules and resources on how to teach about climate change using the latest NASA Earth observation data, Earth system models, and visualization tools and (b) use them in introductory courses over the next two years.

The CAMEL project will commence in October. Presentations on CAMEL will take place during the upcoming meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences <http://aess.info/>  (AESS) in Madison, WI from October 8-11, as well as at the meetings of CEDD in Washington, DC on January 23, 2010 and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO from July 6-8, 2010.

Once the project gets underway, we will be seeking educators to contribute existing curricular resources, develop new resources, and incorporate them into teaching.  Please contact Heidi Fuchs at HFuchs@NCSEonline.org to participate.

More information on CAMEL, including a PowerPoint presentation by lead PI David Hassenzahl and a video thereof, can be found at the CEDD website <http://www.ncseonline.org/CEDD/cms.cfm?id=2348> .

Heidi Fuchs

Program Coordinator, Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) & Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) National Council for Science and the Environment

1101 17th Street NW, Suite 250

Washington, DC 20036

202-530-5810 x222 / fax: 202-628-4311

www.ncseonline.org

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