Pilot Implementation of an Interdisciplinary Course on Climate Solutions

Jinny Rhee
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
San Jose ́ State University, One Washington Square, San Jose ́, USA, CA 95192-0087
E-mail: Jinny.Rhee@sjsu.edu

Eugene C. Cordero
Department of Meteorology
San Jose ́ State University, One Washington Square, San Jose ́, USA, CA 95192-0104
E-mail: cordero@met.sjsu.edu

Lawrence R. Quill
Department of Political Science
San Jose ́ State University, One Washington Square, San Jose ́, USA, CA 95192-0119
E-mail: Lawrence.Quill@sjsu.edu

Abstract:
A pilot implementation of an experimental interdisciplinary course on climate solutions was undertaken at San Jose ́ State University in the fall semester of 2008. The course, co-taught by seven faculty members from six colleges, was approved for a general education requirement and was open to upperclass students campus-wide. A course with such a breadth of topics and range of student backgrounds was the first of its kind here. The lessons learned from the pilot effort were assessed from student, faculty, and administrative perspectives. The educational benefits to students from the interdisciplinary format were found to be substantial, in addition to faculty development. However, challenges associated with team-teaching were also encountered and must be overcome for the long-term viability of the course. The experimental course was approved as a permanent course starting in the fall semester of 2009 based on the pilot effort, and plays a role in the College of Engineering’s recent initiatives in sustainability in addition to campus-wide general education.

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