Advertisement

Developing next-generation climate change scholars: the DISCCRS experience

  • Ronald B. MitchellEmail author
  • C. Susan Weiler
Article

Abstract

Addressing climate change successfully will require an interdisciplinary network of climate change scholars who can communicate effectively with scholars from other disciplines and with the many audiences beyond the ivory tower. Those scholars will need teamwork skills that foster sustained interdisciplinary collaborations and the specific professional skills and training needed for interdisciplinary scholars to navigate successfully in a disciplinary academic world. Yet, at present, our institutions of higher education are not providing these skills to new Ph.D.s. Most graduate students receive extensive disciplinary training but little, if any, training in doing interdisciplinary research, communicating effectively, or building their careers. The authors have developed DISCCRS—the Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research—to build this network of climate change scholars and to target these shortcomings in current training of climate change scholars. This article describes the institutional obstacles and disincentives that hinder the training of graduate students, and the career progress of faculty, interested in conducting interdisciplinary climate change research. The DISCCRS initiative’s annual Symposia, Dissertation Registry, website, and weekly electronic newsletter are described as ways to build an interdisciplinary network of scholars and to improve that network’s communication, team building, and early-career development skills. DISCCRS has developed a model that can be used, in whole or in part, as more universities take up the challenge of developing the next generation of climate change scholars.

Keywords

Climate change scholars DISCCRS Interdisciplinary programs Team building Climate change 

References

  1. Berens LV, Cooper SA, Ernst LK, Martin CR, Myers S, Nardi D, Pearman RR, Segal M, Smith MA (eds) (1999) Quick guide to the 16 personality types in organizations: understanding personality differences in the workplace. Telos Publications, Huntington BeachGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown VA, Harris JA, Russell JY (eds) (2010) Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination. Earthscan, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  3. Carrada G (2006) A scientist’s survival kit: communicating science. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  4. US Climate Change Science Program (2003) Vision for the program and highlights of the Scientific Strategic Plan. A report by the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/vision/ccsp-vision.pdf. Accessed 8 Oct 2008
  5. Hartesveldt CV, Giordan J (2008) Impact of transformative interdisciplinary research and graduate education on academic institutions. NSF Workshop Report. National Science Foundation, Education and Human Resources Directorate, Division of Graduate Education, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Hassol SJ (2008) Improving how scientists communicate about climate change. Eos 89(11):106–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heath C, Heath D (2006) Made to stick: why some ideas survive and some die. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Jasanoff S (ed) (2004) States of knowledge: the co-production of science and social order. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Jung CG (1971) Psychological types. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1923, 1st ednGoogle Scholar
  10. Laney MO (2002) The introvert advantage: how to thrive in an extrovert world. Workman Pub, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Lemos MC, Morehouse BJ (2005) The co-production of science and policy in integrated climate assessments. Glob Environ Change 15:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu J, Dietz T, Carpenter SR, Folke C, Alberti M, Redman CL, Schneider SH, Ostrom E, Pell AN, Lubchenco J, Taylor WW, Ouyang Z, Deadman P, Kratz T, Provencher W (2007) Coupled human and natural systems. Ambio 36(8):639–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lubchenco J (1998) Entering the century of the environment: a new social contract for science. Science 279:491–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mignone BK, Hurteau MD, Chen Y, Sohngen B (2009) Carbon offsets, reversal risk and US climate policy. Carbon Balance Manage 4(3):1–6Google Scholar
  15. Miller RC (1982) Varieties of interdisciplinary approaches in the social sciences. Issues Integr Stud 1:1–37Google Scholar
  16. Moser SC, Dilling L (eds) (2007) Creating a climate for change: communicating climate change and facilitating social change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Myers IG, McCaullley MB, Quenk NL, Hammer AL (2003) MBTI manual: a guide to the development and use of the Myers–Briggs type indicator (3rd edn). CPP, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  18. Oreskes N (2007) The scientific consensus on climate change: how do we know we’re not wrong? In: DiMento JFC, Doughman P (eds) Climate change. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 65–99Google Scholar
  19. Paytan A, Zoback ML (2007) Crossing boundaries, hitting barriers: interdisciplinary research may be lauded, but it’s not yet rewarded. Nature 445:950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schneider SH (1995) Evolutionary organizational models for interdisciplinary research and teaching of global environmental change. In: Waddington DJ (ed) Global environmental change in science: education and training. Springer in cooperation with NATO Scientific Affairs Division, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  21. Swim J, Clayton S, Doherty T, Gifford R, Howard G, Reser J, Stern P, Weber E (2009) Psychology and global climate change: addressing a multi-faceted phenomenon and set of challenges (a report by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Interface between Psychology and Global Climate Change). American Psychological Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Townsend J, Donovan P (2009) The facilitator’s pocketbook (2nd edn). Management Pocketbooks, Ltd., AlresfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Tropman JE (2003) Making meetings work: achieving high quality group decisions, 2nd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  24. US National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy (U.S.) (2005) Facilitating interdisciplinary research. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  25. US National Science Foundation (2000) Environmental science and engineering for the 21st century: the role of the National Science Foundation. US National Science Foundation, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  26. Wallace RL (2010) A very brief introduction to interdisciplinarity. Environmental Studies Program, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© AESS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Environmental Studies ProgramUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division, Cross-Directorate and Interdisciplinary ProgramsNational Science FoundationArlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations