HUCE faculty tackle climate change in expanded Gen Ed course offerings
An interdisciplinary group of HUCE-affiliated faculty are bringing a wide array of courses focused on climate change to the Program on General Education, the "cornerstone" of the College curriculum. Taught by faculty from across the FAS, these courses epitomize the Gen Ed program's focus on urgent problems, enduring questions, and multidisciplinary approaches to the world beyond the classroom.
The Fall 2020 semester includes two new courses focused on the existential crisis of climate change. "Climate Crossroads," brings together the perspectives of atmospheric chemist James Anderson and English professor James Engell. The course uses the contrast in perspectives to identify "scientifically viable pathways to a future that is sustainable and just." HUCE Director Dan Schrag (EPS-SEAS-HKS) has revised his Gen Ed course with a new title, "Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy," and a new approach to virtual teaching. It will be one of two University courses, open to any student at Harvard. The course will also bring in many different HUCE faculty to discuss various perspectives on climate change and the clean energy transition.
In Spring 2021, Lucas Stanczyk from the Department of Philosophy will examine our collective responsibilities with respect to climate change and our obligations to future generations in his course "Ethics of Climate Change"; Joyce Chaplin, from the Department of History, will interrogate the debates over imperiled natural resources and competing human needs in her course, "Nature"; and Michael McElroy (EPS-SEAS) will explore the intersection of climate change and global energy systems in "The Challenge of Human Induced Climate Change: Transitioning to a Post Fossil Fuel Future."
Finally, three additional Gen Ed courses will focus on issues closely related to climate change. Charles Langmuir's (EPS) fall course "How to Build a Habitable Planet" places our current environmental challenges in the broader context of planetary evolution. John Shaw's (EPS-SEAS) spring course "Energy Resources and the Environment" will examine the full life cycle of energy resources: where they come from geologically, how we acquire and use them economically, and the environmental impact of those activities. "Water and the Environment," taught in the spring by Kaighin McColl (EPS-SEAS), will consider how the water cycle has contributed to the demise of past civilizations and explore the implications for modern society in a warming world.
Together, these courses represent a significant increase in climate change offerings in the Gen Ed curriculum. Course titles and numbers are listed below. To learn more about these courses and explore all the energy- and environment-related offerings across campus, visit the HUCE Course Guide or the Course Catalog at courses.my.harvard.edu.
Gen Ed 1167 | Climate Crossroads with Professors James Engell, Department of English, and James Anderson, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gen Ed 1094 | Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy with Professor Daniel Schrag, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gen Ed 1015 | Ethics of Climate Change with Assistant Professor Lucas Stanczyk, Department of Philosophy
Gen Ed 1117 | Nature with Professor Joyce Chaplin, Department of History
Gen Ed 1137 | The Challenge of Human Induced Climate Change: Transitioning to a Post Fossil Fuel Future with Professor Michael McElroy, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gen Ed 1018 | How to Build a Habitable Planet with Professor Charles Langmuir, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Gen Ed 1158 | Water and the Environment with Assistant Professor Kaighin McColl, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gen Ed 1085 | Energy Resources and the Environment with Professor John Shaw, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
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