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Office of the Provost

Climate Crisis: Take Action Course

Climate Strike

UNIV 3985
Special Topics: Climate Crisis: Take Action
1-Credit Course
Free to all UConn students, faculty and staff

Human-caused climate change is one of the most challenging crises facing the world. Solutions exist that offer hope for addressing this challenge now. The course takes a transdisciplinary approach to the issue of climate change action, intentionally integrating across traditional academic disciplines in science, social science, and the humanities, and reaching beyond the academy to incorporate the full array of stakeholders such as those in public policy, business, and the general public.

We see the current moment as an opportunity for society to take a “head, heart, and hands” approach to the climate crisis. This model suggests that transformational learning is holistic, and relates the cognitive domain (head) to critical reflection; the affective domain (heart) to relational knowing; and the psychomotor domain (hands) to engagement.  We have designed this one-credit pop-up course to provide students with a framework within which to examine their values, identity, and purpose/power as it relates to climate change; to consider the multiple ways in which social change occurs; and to identify which pathway(s) they personally may wish to pursue to take action on climate change.  Our overarching goal is to encourage students to consider how they personally can become agents of change in the global climate change arena by understanding complex problems and resolving them through social action.

Course dates:

Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Monday, March 1 – Wednesday, April 28

Faculty and Staff: Monday, March 8 – Wednesday, April 28

Course Objectives

By the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize the pathways through which societal change happens (e.g. policy, legal, economic incentives, education, and activism) and how these pathways are being used to address the climate crisis.
  2. Recognize why the climate is changing, what underlies different projections of the future, and why the United States is lagging behind other countries in addressing the climate crisis.
  3. Identify the impacts of climate change on earth's systems, ecosystems, people, cultures, and societies.
  4. Recognize how different mitigation and adaptation strategies present ethical, ecological, and social trade-offs affecting the future of our planet.
  5. Analyze how and why gaps have arisen between those most responsible for climate change, and those who are most impacted by it using concepts of environmental justice, climate justice, indigenous viewpoints, and colonialism.
  6. Examine how our human modes of literary, political, legal, artistic, and socio-economic organization affect our collective imaginations related to climate crisis solutions. 
  7. Locate valuable resources throughout the University of Connecticut and community that work toward solutions to the climate crisis.
  8. Identify environmental sciences, social sciences, and humanities courses offered by UConn that focus on the climate crisis and appeal to your interests and plans of study.
  9. Identify what kind of global climate future you would like to see and your own willingness, attitudes, and self-efficacy to engage in climate change actions.

Course Modules

Module 0 - Course Orientation

Faculty Team: Atkinson-Palombo, Marsh, Seth, Urban

Module 1: Framing the Pathways to Solving the Climate Crisis

Faculty Team: Atkinson-Palombo, Bontly, Godfrey, Healey, Kashwan

Module 2: Climate Change Science and Impacts

Faculty Team: Bedore, Seth, Urban, Wang, Wanik, Tabor

Module 3: Solution 1: Mitigation Strategies

Faculty Team: Agrios, Bayulgen, Kashwan, Kirchhoff, Seth

Module 4: Solution 2: Adaptation and Compensation

Faculty Team: Healey, Kashwan, Kirchhoff

Module 5: Solution 3: Political Change and the Law

Faculty Team: Abadia, Bayulgen, Healey, Kashwan, MacDougald, McKenzie, Ouimet

Module 6: Solution 4: Economics

Faculty Team: Donegan, Godfrey, Segerson

Module 7: Solution 5: Changing Hearts and Minds and Ensuring Justice

Faculty Team: Bontly, Healey, Lin, Kashwan, Marsh, Ouimet

Module 8: Solution 6 and Wrap-up: How Can We Act Individually, as a University, and Community

Faculty Team: Atkinson-Palombo, Marsh, Seth, Urban

Frequently Asked Questions

Lead Faculty and UConn Reads Coordinating Group

Carol Atkinson-Palombo

Carol Atkinson-Palombo,

Michael Willig

Mike Willig

Kerry Marsh

Kerry Marsh

Cesar Abadia

Cesar Abadia

Mark Urban, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, stands next to Swan Lake on Feb. 3, 2021. (Peter Morenus/UConn photo)

Mark Urban

Anji Seth

Anji Seth