Climate Studies Diversity Project

Including Faculty Professional Development Workshop:

96th AMS Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA
9-12 January 2016

The Challenge We Face

Our nation faces a serious challenge in attracting young people to science and science-related careers (including teaching). This is particularly true for members of groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and is especially acute in the small number of minority college students majoring in the geosciences.

A formidable obstacle in attracting under-served students to the geosciences has been limited opportunity to enroll in introductory-level geoscience courses. To help address this problem, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) developed an introductory climate science course, AMS Climate Studies, which can be added as a general education course. This highly innovative course has been implemented at 115 institutions nationwide since fall 2010, including nearly 70 minority-serving institutions that have joined the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project. This program, along with the highly successful NSF-funded AMS Weather Studies (2002-07) and AMS Ocean Studies (2006-08) Geosciences Diversity/National Dissemination Projects, have introduced the introductory-level courses to more than 220 minority-serving institutions and well over 24,800 MSI students.

The AMS encourages course adoption by institutions serving large numbers of minority students through support from the NSF Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences. The AMS Education Program has partnered with Second Nature, a national non-profit organization that works with college and university administrators to accelerate the movement toward a sustainable society. Together, the AMS and Second Nature uphold the importance of basic climate science education. Through this partnership, the AMS Climate Studies course will help American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signatories implement the curriculum component of their Climate Action Plans.

An Invitation to Join the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project

The AMS, in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), invites minority-serving institutions to join in providing student access to geosciences courses by implementing AMS Climate Studies.

For the purposes of this AMS Diversity Project, eligible colleges and universities include those listed by the U.S. Department of Education as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian (AN/NH) Serving Institutions. Other accredited post-secondary institutions that can document a minority enrollment of at least 25% of their total student population are also eligible. Minority students are defined as members of African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Native Pacific Islander groups.

To encourage institutional participation, the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project offers the following:

• attendance by course instructor at a five-day course implementation workshop in Washington, DC - travel, room, board, and instructional costs are covered, and a $300 stipend is provided

• attendance by course instructor at the subsequent AMS Annual Meeting - 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

Details concerning the AMS Climate Studies course are available at:

Accepting Our Invitation

Institutions meeting the program's eligibility requirements can accept our invitation by submitting the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project License Order Form and Application, signed by an authorized institutional representative. This commits the institution to offering the course for at least one semester.

Submissions may be made by mailing or faxing this form to the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Program.

The application deadline is March 13, 2015 and workshop selections will be made by March 31. Participants will be selected based on a variety of factors, including date-of-receipt of the application forms and projected date of initial course offering. In order to grow AMS Diversity Projects to their fullest potential, at least two-thirds of the positions will be reserved for instructors new to offering AMS courses.

Diversity Project Course Goals

The Implementation Workshop is designed for faculty members who already teach Earth science, and those with little or no prior teaching experience in the atmosphere, ocean, or climate sciences. The workshop will cover selected topics in climate science, pedagogy, and course implementation and management in a collegial community impacted by diversity issues. Participants are provided with all course materials to teach AMS Climate Studies and will demonstrate:

• the ability to interpret and analyze climate data acquired through direct observations and remote sensing

• an understanding of climate from a dynamic, Earth system perspective

• understanding of the course delivery system and a variety of implementation strategies

Subsequent to the Implementation Workshop, participants will:

• interact with a community to share best-practice teaching strategies related to their offering of AMS Climate Studies

• participate in a network connecting students with professional scientists, including opportunities for internships, research, and careers counseling

• present a poster at the Education Symposium at the AMS Annual Meeting

Course Implementation Workshop

The five day workshop will be held in the Washington, DC area. It will cover essential course topics in climate science and global climate change, and strategies for course implementation. Talks will feature climate science and sustainability experts from Federal agencies and area research institutions, including NSF, NASA, NOAA, Howard University, and other DC-area institutions. The workshop will also include visits to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, and the Howard University Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation.

Washington, DC participants will receive:

• stipend of $300

• single hotel room (in Silver Spring, MD) for 5 nights at no cost

• meal allowance

• air travel (or equivalent for land travel) for one round trip between home and Washington, DC

• all workshop instructional supplies

Participants will be housed in hotel facilities as arranged by the AMS. The workshop is intensive and informal interaction among participants is an integral component of the program. Participants will be encouraged to attend without families if their presence is likely to detract from full participation. Participants are responsible for all expenses arising from the presence of accompanying persons.

The major outcomes of this project will be a large network of faculty trained as local climate educators, sustained offering of AMS undergraduate courses within MSIs, and the introduction of thousands of MSI students to the geosciences. Course materials were produced with funding from NASA.

AMS Annual Meeting Workshop

Participating faculty members who successfully implement AMS Climate Studies at their institutions will be invited to the 2016 AMS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA to present a poster describing their implementation experience, participate in a three-day workshop (January 9-12, 2016) that focuses on diversity and other issues related to the course, and attend the meeting’s extensive scientific sessions and exhibits.


AMS Climate Studies, licensing information and faculty workshops:

Elizabeth Mills
Associate Director
American Meteorological Society | Education Program
1200 New York Ave NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005-3928

Phone: 202-737-1043
Fax: 202-737-0445

Information on the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC):

Janna Cohen-Rosenthal
Director of ACUPCC Initiatives
Second Nature, Inc.
18 Tremont Street, Suite 930
Boston, MA 02108

Phone: 617-722-0036 Ext-209