This award to the US National Academy of Engineering establishes a Phase I Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) in collaboration with Arizona State University, Museum of Science-Boston, University of Virginia, Colorado School of Mines, and the Phoenix Union High School District. The overall goal of CCEP Phase I is to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. This award focuses thematically on the impacts of climate change for engineered systems. The goal is to catalyze and transform engineering education in K-12, science museums, and undergraduate engineering departments to prepare current and future engineers, policymakers, and the public to meet these challenges.
In coming decades, climate change and society’s responses to it will require enormous transformation of the nation’s technological infrastructure. Current US education falls far short of preparing the country for this challenge. Technically, educational platforms must focus on the multiple, complex interactions between engineered systems and the Earth’s climate system. At the same time, transformation raises societal challenges, including trade-offs among benefits, costs, and risks, and opportunities for building public trust, confidence, and engagement. New education must integrate technical and normative learning, knowledge, and skills, in formal and informal educational venues.
This partnership will develop a comprehensive vision focused on three themes: (1) climate impacts on engineered systems and their adaptation; (2) changes in engineered systems required to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; and (3) the creation of novel technological systems to engineer the Earth’s climate system. Cutting across these themes, it will examine normative challenges of: (1) governance; (2) justice; (3) sustainability; and (4) public engagement and trust. It will reach out to engineering professional societies, engineering educators and deans, K-12 educators, informal science institutions, industry, non-governmental organizations, media, and policymakers. Working with the Phoenix Union High School District, whose 25,000 students are 78% Hispanic, 10% African American, and 3.2% Native American, allows the Partnership to devise appealing programs for students of diverse backgrounds.
Phase I involves an experienced interdisciplinary team with a broad institutional base, an independent evaluator, a group of senior advisors, and an external advisory board. Working groups, organized by theme and target audience, focus on undergraduate engineering education, K-12 education, informal technology education, and professional engineering education for industry. One or more content working groups focus on developing an inventory of climate education materials integrating technical and normative education. By the end of Phase I, the Partnership will have marshaled a broad network of stakeholders from the target audiences and submitted a proposal to NSF for Phase II. It will have published and disseminated material from the three thematic meetings, as well as results from the project working groups, so content and approaches needed to initiate new formal and informal educational efforts are widely available.