Launched in 2013 under the leadership of Peter H. Raven, PhD, the George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus in Arts & Sciences and president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Washington University Climate Change Program (WUCCP) aims to expand scientific research, education and public understanding of global climate change – one of the most profound challenges facing our planet.
In 2017 Brent Williams, the Raymond R. Tucker Distinguished InCEES Career Development Associate Professor, was named the new Director of WUCCP.
The specific goals of the initiative are to connect and effectively inform a global network of institutions, scholars, practitioners and citizens to address significant climate related challenges by:
- Creating and fostering interdisciplinary teams that move beyond single disciplines and perspectives to balance short-and-long-term needs for sustainable solutions.
- Developing and coordinating comprehensive, interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students and the community to promote and protect biodiversity, advance optimal energy solutions and enhance the quality of life.
- Promoting the development, dissemination and cost-effective deployment of knowledge and resources that transform the capacity to protect our precious resources ad sustainably propel societies.
- Preparing tomorrow’s leaders to develop resources, inspire citizens and engage communities for the responsible benefit of the people and our planet, today and in the future.
Topics of Conversation
The idea of WUCCP was born of an InCEES initiative called “Topics of Conversation.” Established in 2011, it is designed as a series of discussion groups drawing together faculty and disparate disciplines, administrators and community colleagues to address shared areas of opportunity. Early conversation groups addressed climate change and building for the future of our cities. The two groups came together to help launch WUCCP.
The early education foci of WUCCP include an undergraduate course on climate change and formal workshops on climate change. To date, three workshops have been held. Additional workshops are being planned and will focus on cities and urban design, and water.
The workshops have been collaborative endeavors, bringing together partners such as the Washington University Institute for Public Health, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Monsanto.
- Symposium on Biological Extinctions and Climate Change (Sept. 2015)
- Workshop on Climate Change and Agriculture in the Midwest (Sept. 2014)
- Workshop on Climate Change and Human Health (Oct. 2013)
Undergraduate coursework in climate change was one of the earliest priorities of the Topics of Conversation and WUCCP. With funding through the Office of the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant Program, two InCEES researchers, one from Arts & Sciences and the other from the School of Engineering & Applied Science, launched an introductory climate change course for freshman in the spring of 2015.
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