Climate Studies Diversity Project

Including Faculty Professional Development Workshop:

5th Course Implementation Workshop
Silver Spring, MD
21-26 May 2017

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 the 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 160 institutions nationwide since fall 2010, including more than 90 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 230 minority-serving institutions and over 25,000 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 to proactively build a sustainable and positive global future through leadership networks in higher education. Together, the AMS and Second Nature uphold the importance of basic climate science education. Through this partnership, the AMS Climate Studies course will help Climate Leadership Commitment 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 the course instructor at a five-day course implementation workshop in Silver Spring, just outside of Washington, DC
    • travel, room, board, and instructional costs are covered and a $300 stipend is provided
  • waived abstract and meeting registration fees supporting a poster presentation at the subsequent AMS Annual Meeting
  • 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 15, 2017 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. 

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:

  • ability to interpret and analyze climate data acquired through direct observations and remote sensing
  • 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
  • be invited to present a poster at the Education Symposium at the AMS Annual Meeting
    • abstract and meeting registration fees will be covered but participants are responsible for travel, hotel, food and other costs
  • be informed of advanced professional development workshop opportunities for MSI faculty, such as the recent MSI-REaCH and School of Ice workshops
  • participate in a network informing faculty of scholarship, internship and research opportunities for students

Course Implementation Workshop

The five day workshop will be based in Silver Spring, MD. 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.

Workshop 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 a Washington, DC area airport
  • all course instructional materials

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

Participating faculty members who successfully introduce AMS Climate Studies at their institutions will be invited to present a poster on their course implementation progress at the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, TX. (AMS will cover abstract and meeting registration fees, but participants are responsible for all other costs.) Meeting registration includes all scientific sessions and exhibits, including the Symposium on Education.


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 Climate Leadership Commitments:

Janna Cohen-Rosenthal
Climate programs Director
Second Nature, Inc.
18 Tremont Street, Suite 930
Boston, MA 02108

Phone: 617-722-0036