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ESSE 21 College and University Earth System Science Education for the 21st Century


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Title: ESSE 21 College and University Earth System Science Education for the 21st Century

ESSE 21 College and University Earth System
Science Education for the 21st Century
Donald R. Johnson Martin Ruzek Universities
Space Research Association
ESSE 21 Mission Statement
engage scientists and educators in the
collaborative development and offering of courses
and learning resources focused on the
fundamental understanding and application of
Earth system and global change science in the
undergraduate classroom and laboratory
motivate and effect systemic change through
adoption of courses and curricula in Earth system
and global change science within colleges and
universities provide an infrastructure to
support collaboration of faculty and scientists
within and among educational institutions and
with NASA programs and scientists strengthen
and expand interdisciplinary Earth system and
global change science education within the
overall formal and informal education structure
of this Nation
What is Earth System Science ? Background on
ESSE I and II A New Opportunity - ESSE 21
What is Earth System Science?
Earth system science provides a physical basis
for understanding the world in which we live and
upon which humankind seeks to achieve
sustainability Earth system science embraces
chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and
applied sciences in transcending disciplinary
boundaries to treat the Earth as an integrated
system Earth system science has been
stimulated by the the increasing role of human
activity in global change and the capabilities of
global monitoring of the Earth from space
Earth system science seeks a deeper understanding
of the physical, chemical and biological
interactions that determine the past, current and
future states of the Earth
The Bretherton Diagram
The Full Bretherton Diagram
Earth System Science
What has ESS taught us?
Embracing Earth system science as a concept also
reveals No individual department or program
within a university or even single university has
the expertise and interest to adequately cover
the breadth and depth required The joining of
faculty from different disciplines within and
among universities is essential for achieving the
richness that Earth system science potentially
offers to classroom education. Earth system
science must retain the strength of traditional
disciplines for understanding the complexities of
interacting processes encountered. The
challenge is to develop and offer a variety of
Earth system science courses at different
universities and colleges which meet the needs
and interests of the faculty and students at a
particular institution. The collaborative
development and sharing of diverse educational
resources will create "a whole that is greater
than the sum of the parts".
How we arrived at this point - ESSE I and II
ESSE - a NASA/USRA university-based cooperative
effort structured to overcome traditional
barriers to interdisciplinary science
education. Forty five colleges and
universities were competitively selected to
participate in ESSE 1 and ESSE II from 1991 -
2000 Faculty from these U.S. universities
collaborated with one another and with NASA
scientists to develop undergraduate curricula
and courses in ESS Each university offered at
least one survey course and one senior level
course in which faculty presented Earth systems
as an important class of challenging scientific
problems in relation to human dimensions and
sustainability Universities participated in an
exchange in which visiting faculty and scientists
from other participating universities and from
NASA brought to the classroom expertise and
perspectives different from those at the host
campus. Hands-on workshops and tutorials were
held each year for faculty and teaching
assistants to familiarize the group with new
software resources and methods for the
ESSE Examples - CSU Monterey Bay
PI Bill Head Susan Alexander Courses ESSP
202 - Human Interactions with the
Environment ESSP 260 - Geology and
Hydrology ESSP 301 - Ecosystem Services
Scientific Economic Analyses ESSP 303 -
California Transect ESSP 340 - Ecological
Systems ESSP 360 - Geomorphic Systems ESSP 395
- Special Topics in Earth Systems Science
Policy ESSP 440 - Ecological Modeling ESSP 461
- Watershed Systems Restoration Enrollment in
ESSE and ESSE-derived courses Year 96/97 97/98 9
8/99 99/00 00/01 Students 88 79 190
208 318
CSUMB has one interdisciplinary department
called Earth Systems Science Policy - not
traditional science departments CSUMB offers a
major and BS degree in Earth Systems Science and
Policy Susan Alexander represents the 2nd
generation of ESSE influence, being a PhD
graduate at Stanford while it was in the ESSE-1
program ESSE helped define CSUMBs Earth
Systems Science Policy (ESSP) program, one of
the first programs in the nation to take a
systems approach to science education. At the
lower division level, cognate topics
(mathematics, chemistry, and physics) are framed
within the context of Earth systems problems,
while upper division courses focus on teaching
students the interdisciplinary, critical
thinking, and technical skills that they will
need to effectively apply the Earth systems
perspective to real-world problems.
ESSE Examples - University of Maryland
PI Owen Thompson Courses METO123 - Causes and
Implications of Global Change METO200 -
Weather and Climate METO400 - The
Atmosphere METO401 - Global Environment METO49
9 - Earth System Science Physical and
Biogeochemical Cycles METO625 - Remote Sensing
Outline METO431/432 - Meteorology for
Scientists and Engineers Enrollment in ESSE
and ESSE-derived courses Year 95/96 96/97 97/98
98/99 99/00 00/01 Students 112 143 285
164 175 239 The Maryland departments of
Meteorology, Geology, Geography, and Plant
Biology came together under ESSE Project auspices
to develop the course METO/GEOL/GEOG/PBIO 123
(Entered above as "METO 123"). Cooperation
continues with the establishment of a new "Earth
System Science Interdisciplinary Center" (ESSIC)
under joint University of Maryland/NASA
sponsorship. With both research and educational
charges, Meteorology, Geology, Geography, and
ESSIC is currently revising its ESS curricular
offerings to further developments of Earth system
science curricula at entry-level, advanced
undergraduate, and graduate levels. This is the
kind of development envisioned by the original
USRA/ESSE Program, and the University of Maryland
is enjoying the benefits of its participation
with peer universities through USRA/ESSE.
ESSE Examples - Michigan State University
PI Stuart Gage Courses BOT/ENT/GLG/SOC/ZOL319
- Intro to Earth System Science ENT 442 -
Biological Information Systems BOT/ENT/GLG/SOC/ZO
L419 - Advanced Earth System Science Enrollment
in ESSE and ESSE-derived courses Year 96/97 97
/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 Students 20 11 40
53 35 ESSE has impacted the program at MSU
by causing MSU administration to address
issues related to trans-disciplinary and
trans-college courses motivating faculty from
different disciplines to interact in the design
of ESSE courses enrolling students from more
than 25 majors in ESSE courses, in a balance
between social, physical and biological
sciences. creating the ESSE course which is now
an option for student advisors to provide Science
majors with a big picture course enriching
faculty, who attended all sessions and learned
points of view from different disciplines, and
incorporate ESSE materials in other courses.
Faculty can now teach their own ESSE courses
within their departments impacting the next
generation of faculty - former graduate students
are incorporating the ESSE/Biosphere approach to
generate their own courses
ESSE Examples - University of Michigan
PI Tim Killeen Ben van der Pluijm Courses
AOSS 171 - Intro to Global Change I - Physical
Processes AOSS 172 - Intro to Global Change II -
Human Impacts UC 212 - Intro to Global Change
III - Studies of Global Sustainability Enrollment
in ESSE and ESSE-derived courses Year 95/96 96/
97 97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 Students 75 155
150 259 273 216 The Global Change courses
are team-taught by faculty from five different
departments The University of Michigan's Global
Change Project is a novel approach in
undergraduate science and social science
education. In three interdisciplinary,
team-taught courses the topic of Global Change
from physical and human perspectives is examined,
and case studies are used to explore conditions
for sustainability. The courses are aimed at
first and second year students who want to
understand the historical and modern aspects of
Global Change. A Minor in Global Change can be
completed in the first few years of study. The
three Global Change Courses are its required core
and students learn further through the completion
of 2 elective, campus-wide courses.
University of Michigan Global Change 1
Global Change 1 Course Lectures
Complete schedule at http//www.globalchange.umich
Global Change 2 Course Lectures
Complete schedule at http//www.globalchange.umich
Global Change Course Instructors
Ben van der Pluijm, Department of Geological
Sciences, Program Director for UC Academic Minor
in Global Change David
Allan, School of Natural Resources and
Environment George Kling,
Department of Biology Perry
Samson, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and
Space Sciences Vincent Abreu,
Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space
Sciences Bunyan Bryant,
School of Natural Resources and Environment Mary Anne Carroll,
Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space
Sciences Richard Ford,
Anthropology  Gayl Ness,
ESSE II Participants and Course Enrollments
Summary of ESSE Accomplishments
ESSE Participants have embraced ESS as an
important course of studies are full partners
and leaders in the wave of systemic reform in ESS
were early adopters and now leaders in
electronic content delivery have formed
productive partnerships in expanding content and
courses ESSE as a Program has demonstrated
the success of leveraging resources in the
college and university environment maintains
a continuing web presence with active content
creation and collection develops and
contributes to new concepts - JESSE, EPOD, DLESE
Opportunities Continue in the 21st Century
Striving for sustainability demands analysis of
the Earth system Wealth of data for global
monitoring of the Earth from NASA missions
Opportunities for analysis and prediction
abound Pervasive use of electronic media and
communications Advancing pedagogical
effectiveness through student discovery and
creativity involving guided scientific research
Complementary focus of Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics in advancing Earth
system science education Need for assessment
and evaluation
Interdisciplinary concerns of Earth system science
An understanding of Earth System Science
requires both breadth and depth from the
underlying scientific disciplines Earth system
issues (climate change, biodiversity,
urbanization, etc.) remain central to mapping a
sustainable future for society Decision
making must be based upon sound scientific
characterization and understanding of the Earth
system involving many disciplines Discovery and
critical thinking must be cultivated at all
levels across disciplines Disciplinary
expertise is essential for interdisciplinary
Societal Needs
Broad awareness, appreciation and
understanding of Earth system and global change
science and the background necessary to address
sustainability, environmental equity and other
complex science/society issues Expanded and
continued opportunities for engaging
traditionally underrepresented groups in science
education and decision making
As Only Colleges and Universities Can
  • Recognize the overall importance and relevance
    of Earth system science as an emerging course of
    studies of the 21st century
  • Develop and offer courses which describe the
    Earth system with fundamental understanding of
    the physical, chemical, biological and social
  • Access data and utilize models in the classroom
    for retrospective, interoperative and prospective
    studies of the Earth system
  • Attract and motivate students interested in
    careers across a broad spectrum of endeavors from
    environmental applications to the underlying
    fundamentals of the science.

As Only NASA Can
Leverage existing investments in Earth
observing from space to realize a world-view of
Earth system and global change science Migrate
the results of NASA science, applications, and
technology to the classroom, integrate core
science and engineering competencies and
collaborate with scientists, educators and
students in the college and university community
Improve recruitment and retention in Earth
system science and technology and foster the next
generation of sophisticated researchers and data
analyists with early introduction to new concepts
and technologies such as NewDISS, SensorWeb, etc.
NASAs Earth Science Enterprise
ESSE 21 Goals
Support and expand an active community of
college and university educators and scientists
as partners dedicated to developing and offering
courses and relevant curricula in Earth system
science by joining of faculty from different
disciplines. When opportunity presents itself,
departments and degree programs in
interdisciplinary Earth system science will
emerge. Foster and enrich the grassroots
development of quality shared content at the
undergraduate and graduate level, incorporating
Earth system science, research, data, models,
visualizations, applications and technology for
classroom and laboratory use. Provide enabling
infrastructure that fosters and supports broad
collaboration among an interdisciplinary
community in the development of content and
serves as a focal point for sharing
interdisciplinary ideas, resources, and talents.
Community, Content and Infrastructure (Vines,
Fruit and Trellis)
Without a common supporting infrastructure communi
ty growth is scattered, content is developed
independently and is often not available to the
rest of the community.
ESSE 21 nurtures a productive community sharing
diverse content building on a common supportive
ESSE 21 Objectives - Community
In fulfilling its mission, ESSE 21 will
Support an interdisciplinary group of faculty and
staff among colleges and universities committed
to systemic change and collaborative offering of
Earth system science courses in the classroom.
Provide opportunities for Earth system
educators and the larger interdisciplinary
community of researchers to partner with each
other and share interests, new results, ideas,
expectations, opportunities, products, learning
tools, etc. Promote Earth system science
concepts for broader extension to national
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) education goals Extend awareness of the
NASA Earth Science Enterprise mission and
strategic goals (characterize, understand,
predict) to the college and university education
community Offer opportunities for international
collaboration, contributions and participation
ESSE 21 Objectives - Community (cont)
ESSE 21 will Support involvement of under
represented institutions and foster capacity
building through collaboration Facilitate a
survey of the capabilities for Earth system
science and identify current strengths and
areas for expansion among under represented
institutions Assist in establishing goals and
objectives for an Earth system science program
appropriate to institutional strengths,
aspirations and needs Draw upon the broader
resources and strength of established programs
Match goals and strengths of specific under
represented institutions through teaming
arrangements with each other and established
ESSE 21 Objectives - Content
In fulfilling its mission, ESSE 21 will
Improve overall science literacy at the
undergraduate level by developing learning
materials that feature the scientific basis of
Earth system concepts Foster programs that
promote core competencies in interdisciplinary
Earth system topics and address recruitment and
retention issues in ESS fields. Support the
adaptation and integration of existing Earth
system science resources into undergraduate
learning environments, extending local resources
to broader audiences Support the creation of
new Earth system science learning resources,
course and curricula as visions unfold and new
horizons emerge, including development of degree
programs in Earth system and global change
science Support the implementation of best
practice pedagogies for student-centered
learning, including sound evaluation and
assessment strategies Submit Earth system
science resources developed to the NASA Product
Review and encourage peer reviewed publication of
content and concepts via the Journal of Earth
System Science Education (JESSE)
ESSE 21 Objectives - Infrastructure
In fulfilling its mission, ESSE 21 will
Provide long-term continuing opportunities for
participant interaction through annual meetings,
special topical workshops, special professional
meeting sessions, discussion forums, etc.
Create and maintain community Web resources,
content repositories, listservers, discussion
forums, summaries of news items of interest etc.
Serve as a broker for partner expertise,
coordinating participant contributions to other
projects seeking collaborators (e.g. in K12
education, pre-service education, etc). Serve
as a hub for responding to external opportunities
and seeking foundation support (e.g.,
sustainability, applications, technology,
international programs).
ESSE 21 Programmatic Activities - Community
USRA plans to issue a series of Calls for
Participation soliciting interdisciplinary teams
of undergraduate faculty Each Call to
competitively select 5-8 teams Each team will
be funded for 2 years, up to 35K/yr, and receive
travel support for duration of program Over 6
years, 25 - 40 colleges and universities would be
involved Extend involvement to international
partners on a no-cost basis Organize
participant interest among the teams and beyond,
to include collaborations with other NASA funded
researchers and programs, at universities and
NASA centers Organize an annual meeting for
participants to foster discussion, projects, and
opportunities for collaboration Coordinate
opportunities for student involvement /
internships / summer programs
Call for Participation
  • ESSE21 Call for Participation will seek creative
    and innovative proposals from college and
    university teams committed to furthering ESS in
    the classroom. Proposals will be solicited
  • Develop new lower and senior level
    undergraduate interdisciplinary courses
  • Develop and implement an interdisciplinary
    Earth system science degree program leading to a
    major or minor.
  • Develop and offer courses leading to a
    certificate program aimed at improving competency
    in Earth system topics (e.g. remote sensing,
    image processing, GIS, etc.)
  • Develop network(s) including under represented
    institutions, statewide university systems and/or
    community colleges allied with a leading
    four-year institution(s) to develop and share
    common Earth system science expertise and
  • Create new comprehensive modular Earth system
    science content which promotes the
    interdisciplinary extension of science,
    technology, engineering and mathematics
  • etc.

Proposal Level
Level 1 Institutions without existing Earth
system science course(s), seeking to develop and
share new interdisciplinary courses and content
in Earth system science. Level 2 Institutions
already offering various courses emphasizing
Earth system science content, seeking to develop
and share additional courses with new content and
formalize their Earth system science offerings
through systemic reorientation of degree tracks,
programs and/or departments leading to options
for a minor or major in Earth system
science Level 3 Institutions who have already
adopted Earth system science through formal
degree tracks, programs and/or departments, now
seeking to develop interdisciplinary content in
new areas leading to various degree options in
Earth system science and bringing existing
content to a level that will be mutually shared
and potentially expanded through collaborations
with other institutions such as state university
systems including community colleges
ESSE 21 Associate Members
ESSE 21 also seeks Associate participation
Extends opportunities to participate without
funding (e.g. government, non-US, institutions
with interest) Selected by letter proposal
Invited to all meetings, discussions, workshops
Some travel funds may be available Provides a
formal way to participate, contribute and benefit
ESSE 21 Programmatic Activities - Content
ESSE 21 will Facilitate and coordinate the
content development by team participants Stimulat
e and optimize a range of educational resources
Avoid duplication of efforts Balance materials
development Formulate development guidelines for
adapting products Encourage using data in the
classroom Apply common assessment and
evaluation rubrics to ESSE 21 content with the
involvement of assessment experts Work with
teams to disseminate content via the NASA product
review, and publish content via JESSE and/or
ESSE 21 Programmatic Activities - Infrastructure
ESSE 21 will Organize and maintain a web
presence and content supporting the ESSE 21
community, including list serves and discussion
boards, NetMeetings, databases, mailing lists,
etc. Serve as a nucleus for discussion and
community building and extension to other
disciplines aligned with ESS interests (ie life
science, social science, applications,
technology, policy …) Create collections,
services, and modules to assist the
participants Seek ways to maximize participant
interactions, exchange and collaboration
Coordinate travel for ESSE 21 exchanges
Generate an ESS speakers list and find speakers
when required Coordinate responses to funding
opportunities and proposal solicitations
Represent ESSE 21 as a body at professional
meetings and in response to opportunities that
can extend and benefit the mission of ESSE 21
Opportunities for additional impact and future
ESSE 21 programmatic activities will focus
discussion and expertise in areas such as
Standards-based STEM education activities
State science education initiatives
Research/education partnerships International
programs Sustainable development,
environmental issues, policy Applications and
technology related to ESS Outreach to social
science and life science communities Forum for
common and special interests
Summary of anticipated benefits
Partnerships. ESSE 21 will establish new,
interdisciplinary partnerships creating
communities of researchers and educators sharing
a common interest in the Earth system and
leveraging existing resources and capabilities.
Resources. ESSE 21 is important for bringing
about the renewal, extension, and restructuring
of existing resources. The Program will
facilitate the timely development of new learning
materials that ensure a firm foundation of
science principles underlying the Earth
system Reform. The Program will motivate and
contribute to systemic change from the grassroots
level in how science and education departments
and degree programs interface in structuring the
study of the Earth system Opportunities. As a
collaborative group, ESSE 21can respond to other
announcements of opportunity, extending the
NASA-based Earth system resources to new
audiences and applications.
ESSE 21 Stakeholders and Goals
Keys Words-Earth System Science Education
Can you recognize the ESSE 21 keywords now?
capacity building and mutual program
stimulation bottoms up, grass roots, in the
classroom collaboration, partnerships,
teaming, multifaceted reinforcement, like
minds interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary
strengths of discipline, jointly pursuing common
interests communication and exchange of
concepts involving science and sustainability
exciting science and applications involving
multidimensionality with intersecting spaces
that remained to be explored The really unique
aspect of earth system science lies within the
problems and unexplored challenges lying within
the intersecting spaces of disciplinary interests
which remain to be addressed and and where
applications remain to be developed.