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12th Chicago International Education Conference

The Hot Topic: Strategies for Teaching Global Climate Change


Friday, November 8, 2019
8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
International House – Assembly Hall
The University of Chicago
1414 E 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637


How do you teach the biggest, most complicated, and most pressing issue of our age?  The 12th Annual University of Chicago International Education Conference “The Hot Topic: Strategies for Teaching Global Climate Change” will explore methods and topics for teaching climate change to both STEM and non-STEM classes.  Our group of distinguished speakers will approach the subject from the perspective of cutting-edge science, classroom demonstrations, political science and economics, and social justice.

Light breakfast, lunch, and instructional materials are included. 5 PD hours.

Registration required: https://uchicago-international-education-events.ticketleap.com/iec-12/


David Archer

Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences and Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), University of Chicago

David Archer has been a professor in the Department of The Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago since 1993. He has worked on a wide range of topics pertaining to the global carbon cycle and its relation to global climate, with special focus on ocean sedimentary processes such as CaCO3 dissolution and methane hydrate formation, and their impact on the evolution of atmospheric CO2. He teaches classes on global warming, environmental chemistry, and global geochemical cycles.

Don Haas

Director of Teaching Programming, Paleontological Research Institution

Don Haas (formerly, Don Duggan-Haas) is the Director of Teacher Programs at The Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga Nature Center in Ithaca, NY. Don’s work in public outreach, teacher education, teacher professional development and curriculum materials development marries deep understandings of how people learn with deep understandings of the Earth system. He is a past president of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, a nationally regarded expert in climate and energy education, place-based and technology-rich Earth and environmental science education. He has led educator professional development programming throughout the US. He also is co-author of the books, The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change and The Science Beneath the Surface: A Very Short Guide to the Marcellus Shale. He served on the Earth & Space Science Design Team for the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Don has taught at Colgate, Cornell, and Michigan State Universities, the University at Buffalo, Kalamazoo College, and Tapestry and Norwich (New York) High Schools.

Amir Jina

Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy and Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), University of Chicago

Amir Jina is an Assistant Professor at Harris Public Policy. An environmental and development economist, his research focuses on the role of the environment and environmental change in the shaping how societies develop. He uses applied economic techniques combined with methods from climate science and remote sensing to understand the impacts of climate in both rich and poor countries, and has conducted fieldwork related to climate change adaptation with communities in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda.

Ray Lodato

Lecturer, Environmental and Urban Studies and Public Policy Studies, Program on the Global Environment, University of Chicago

Ray Lodato is a Lecturer in the Environmental and Urban Studies and Public Policy Studies programs at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Lodato teaches courses on environmental policy, law, and politics, as well as urban sustainability. Possessing an extensive background in survey research, Dr. Lodato has conducted research projects for the NAACP, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Vandana Singh

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Earth Science, Framingham State University

Vandana Singh is a professor of physics at Framingham State University.  She is a former particle physicist currently engaged in transdisciplinary scholarship of climate change, with emphasis on new conceptualizations in climate pedagogy. Along with her colleague, Dr. Irene Porro at Framingham State, Vandana conceptualized and ran the first interdisciplinary workshop (in Massachusetts) on teaching climate change for high school science teachers in Summer 2017.  She was an invited speaker at the National Academies Workshop on interdisciplinarity in STEM in 2016.  In 2014 she was granted a program award by the American Association of Colleges and Universities to develop a case study for undergraduate education, for which she traveled to Alaska to study climate change at the intersection of science, policy, indigenous culture and justice.  She has been learning about climate science and teaching it in general physics college courses for over a decade.



8:30-9:00 AM   Registration and Breakfast

9:00 AM   Welcome

9:15-10:15 AM   “Humans in Earth’s Carbon Cycle”

David Archer (Department of Geophysical Sciences and Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago)

Human use of fossil energy takes place within Earth’s natural carbon cycle, which will clean up our CO2 from the air but only on time scales of millions of years. Fossil carbon basically will basically just accumulate in the atmosphere / ocean / land surface, and will stay there, for that unimaginable length of time, unless we eventually scrub CO2 from the atmosphere using technology, which would cost an almost unimaginable amount of money.  Because the carbon is accumulating, the climate impacts depend on the cumulative amount of carbon ever emitted.   

10:15-10:30 AM   Break

10:30-11:45 AM   “No Planet B: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Climate Change”

Vandana Singh (Department of Physics and Earth Science, Framingham State University)

Climate change is the defining global crisis of our era.  Yet, despite multiple reports from scientists and policymakers on the existential threat to humanity and the biosphere, no meaningful action has been taken to abate the crisis.  One of many factors is the challenge of conceptualizing and communicating climate change in the classroom and beyond.  Along with scientific and technical open questions, climate change presents unique epistemological, sociological, psychological and ethical challenges, including climate justice.

11:45-12:30 PM   Lunch

12:30-1:30 PM   “It’s too late. Let’s get to work anyway.”

Don Haas (Paleontological Research Institution)

It is too late to prevent horrible consequences of climate change, but when it’s too late is when we generally get to work. We ended slavery too late. We stopped Hitler’s genocide too late. We got to work on civil rights and getting out of Vietnam too late. Being too late doesn’t mean that it’s too late to do something. It means we’re already letting people suffer, but we can prevent future suffering. Addressing climate change is a wicked interdisciplinary problem, and an all-hands-on-deck moment. This session will address key aspects of the physical science of climate change, bring home its massive scale, and delve into the social science that provides different sorts of challenges to teaching climate change than is presented by teaching , for example, photosynthesis.

1:30-1:45 PM   Break

1:45-3:00 PM  “Developing a Global Perspective on Efforts to Combat Climate Change”

Ray Lodato (Environmental and Urban Studies and Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago)

                        “The Impact of Climate on Society (and Society on Climate)”

Amir Jina (Harris School of Public Policy and Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago)

This conference is presented by the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, International House Global Voices Program at the University of Chicago, Neighborhood Schools Program, and UChicago Engages with support from Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance should contact the Office of Programs and External Relations in advance at 773-753-2274 or i-house-programs@uchicago.edu.