Colleges and universities provide the bridge to training a workforce of climate change scientists, as well as creating qualified workers in the fields of green jobs and technologies, an effort that could drastically reduce our footprint on the environment. As a first step, the presidents of all institutions of the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. These schools have agreed to map a strategy to carbon neutrality and address sustainability in the undergraduate curriculum. This process sets the stage for incorporating climate change science and solutions into undergraduate and graduate programs. As evidence of this, the University of Maryland at College Park and Frostburg State University received Second Nature’s 2nd Annual Climate Leadership Award
A continued effort to achieve carbon neutrality and sustainability will require innovation. As an example the University of Maryland, College Park has launched its Chesapeake Project with the goal of integrating sustainability across the curriculum by placing this activity where the students live and study. MADE-CLEAR will assist these efforts by providing resources and approaches to climate change education, including application of products developed by the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors Climate Adaptation and Mitigation E-Learning (CAMEL) initiative. President Harker at the University of Delaware, working in collaboration with faculty, has established research and education in environmental sustainability as a strategic initiative in UDEL’s Path to Prominence. This led to the development of two new undergraduate degree programs in environmental science (led by Nancy Targett) and in environmental policy.
Led by Nancy Shapiro, the Higher Education working group has initiated a series of surveys and needs assessments at partner universities and colleges to determine existing coursework that will support MADE CLEAR and gaps in programming where the program could provide assistance. The group is also conducting a literature review and compiling media resources that will contribute to undergraduate and graduate learning.