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Beginning this Spring, Montgomery College will be collaborating with Dickinson College and three
Pennsylvania community colleges to improve teaching and learning about global climate change in their
liberal arts programs. Dickinson College has been awarded a three-year grant as part of NASA’s
Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN): "Global Climate Change Education: Research Experiences,
Teaching and Learning."
As a result of this grant opportunity, Montgomery College faculty will implement a multifaceted
endeavor to build teacher competency for interdisciplinary teaching about climate change, enhance
capacity for using models and Earth observations in teaching and research, and develop and implement a
core curriculum of climate change-focused courses that promotes systems thinking, and integrate climate
change more widely throughout the liberal arts curriculum. Anticipated outcomes are increased
competency of science, social science, and humanities faculties for interdisciplinary teaching about
climate change from a systems perspective using effective pedagogies and NASA science, data, and
models; increased Climate Literacy of students completing 2year degrees in the liberal arts that prepares
them for climate change related employment, continued study toward a higher degree, and/or informed
participation in public decision making for managing climate risks; increased numbers of students who go
on from a 2-year degree to a 4-year degree in fields related to climate change; and strengthened
collaboration between Dickinson College and Montgomery College.
The co-investigator for Montgomery College is Dr. Diane Daniel, Germantown’s professor of geology
and the physical sciences. She will be responsible for coordinating activities at Montgomery College.
These activities include: (i) developing a core curriculum of climate change-focused courses, (ii) infusing
climate change into additional courses in the liberal arts curriculum, and (iii) implementing a program of
professional development to build the competency of faculty for teaching about climate change.
Dr. McDaniel will serve of the Climate Change Curriculum Task Force which will guide development
and implementation of a core curriculum on climate change. Select faculty from Montgomery College
will also participate in the curriculum development and implementation. Climate change content and
Climate Literacy principles will be integrated into at least one course that is taught on a regular basis by
each of the participating faculty members, anticipating at least 9 courses at Montgomery College. These
will include courses in which climate change is introduced as a significant module, case study, or
example, and a smaller number of courses that focus primarily on the study of climate change. The
courses will be distributed across the liberal arts curriculum, including science, social science, and arts
and humanities courses.
Students who take these courses will gain climate literacy and an enhanced ability to synthesize
information about climate change across disciplinary boundaries. They will also gain knowledge about
NASA models, data and science. Assuming that the courses are offered every year and have an average
enrollment of 20 students per course, 180 students at Montgomery College, will be positively impacted on
an annual and continuing basis.
Faculty, selected Collegewide, will participate in the Changing Planet Study Group. The Changing Planet
Study Group will create a learning community of faculty from the partnering colleges to build
competency and a support network for teaching about climate change. This will be achieved through
sharing of subject area knowledge and pedagogical expertise among faculty from diverse disciplines to
construct a more transdisciplinary foundation for climate change teaching that spans biophysical and
human dimensions of climate change. Each cohort of the study group will be composed of 4 faculty
members from Dickinson and 3 from each of the partner 2-year colleges. Each year there will be a new
Montgomery College faculty will participate in Climate Modeling and Data Applications Workshops held
in years 1 and 2 to train faculty in climate modeling and the integration of Earth observation with
socioeconomic data for use in teaching about climate change.
Montgomery College received over $36,000 to support the activities of the grant. Funds will be used to
support travel, lodging, and meals and faculty participation.
For more information please contact Dr. Diane McDaniel, 240-567-7804 or
[email protected]