Education

Educational components of DCDC II use interdisciplinary and community-embedded collaboration to educate graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 students in an effort to reach larger public audiences. The aim of DCDC II is to understand water and resource decision making under uncertainty (DMUU), build skills in interdisciplinary thinking and learning, contribute to integrating work within DCDC and among all DMUU collaborative groups, and create leaders in integrated research and community collaboration. Graduate and undergraduate students engage in a mentorship relationship with a faculty member or community partner for a full academic year and participate in year-long, interdisciplinary seminars.

2011-2012

We have integrated DCDC research into learning materials and educational programs, engaging a variety of formal and informal education partners. The Community of Graduate Scholars (CGS) brings together graduate students from multiple disciplines to build interdisciplinary thinking and communication skills. This goal is accomplished through two semesters of a weekly seminar class and several research activities designed to build research skills. Margaret Nelson worked with five of DCDC’s graduate students to organize the Decision Making Under Uncertainty poster symposium for the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, where the CGS students presented posters of their work with DCDC. Additionally, graduate fellows associated with the NSF-funded GK-12 Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools grant used DCDC research methods and findings to create classroom lessons.

Under the guidance of Katja Brundiers (DCDC Community-University Liaison), Margaret Nelson (Co-PI and Vice Dean of Barrett, the Honors College at ASU), Sada Gilbert (Internship Coordinator from the School of Sustainability at ASU), and Liz Marquez (DCDC Program Manager), the Internship for Science-Practice Integration program began its second year connecting with water-management stakeholders by placing students within agencies to carry out research-oriented internship projects. In addition to their internship, students participated in a three-credit hour course to design and implement their own use-inspired research project. To ensure academic rigor and state-of-the-art research ideas, each student met with a DCDC researcher for scientific input and feedback on their projects. Through this program, students were introduced to the concepts and practical aspects of policy-relevant research. The ISPI program included six partnerships with agencies such as city municipalities and nonprofit organizations. Results of students’ use-inspired research projects were shared at DCDC’s Annual Poster Symposium.

The DCDC poster symposium featured research from both of DCDC’s educational programs: Community of Graduate Scholars (6 students) and Internship for Science-Practice Integration (6 students). The Symposium attracted a large and mixed audience, including parents, faculty from diverse ASU departments, internship mentors, and related professionals from water-management agencies.

Monica Elser, education team leader, collaborated again this year with the University of Arizona’s (UA’s) water-education programs (Project Wet, Cooperative Extension, and the Water Sustainability program) to deliver a two-day Advanced Water Educator Workshop on ecosystem management. The 2012 workshop was the seventh in a series that provides community partners with timely information about water issues and connects university scientists (DCDC, ASU, UA) with educators. DCDC has hosted this activity annually since 2006, highlighting such topics as management (2006), climate change and decision making (2007), water re-use (2008), energy-water nexus (2009), water and the future of agriculture (2010), and public perceptions of water (2011). Monica had the opportunity to participate in the 2012 Tri-Agency Climate Change Education PIs Meeting, which included individuals representing projects currently funded by the NSF Climate Change Education (CCE) and Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) programs; the NASA Global Climate Change Education (GCCE) and NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE) programs; and, relevant projects funded by NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Grants program.

2010-2011

New this year, Katja Brundiers (DCDC Community-University Liaison), Margaret Nelson (Co-PI and Vice Dean of Barrett, the Honors College at ASU), and Amy Lively (Internship Coordinator from the School of Sustainability at ASU), developed and implemented the first “Internship for Science-Practice Integration” program (ISPI). The ISPI program connected DCDC with water-management stakeholders by placing students within agencies to carry out research-oriented internship projects. In addition to their internship, students participated in a three-credit hour course to design and implement their own use-inspired research project. To ensure academic rigor and state-of-the-art research ideas, each student met with a DCDC researcher for scientific input and feedback on their projects. Through this program, students were introduced to the concepts and practical aspects of policy-relevant research. The ISPI program included seven partnerships with agencies such as city municipalities, private companies, and nonprofit organizations, as well as students from three different departments.

Results of students’ use-inspired research projects were shared at DCDC’s Annual Poster Symposium. The poster symposium featured research from all DCDC’s educational programs: Community of Graduate Scholars (4 students), Community of Undergraduate Research Scholars (18 students), and Internship for Science-Practice Integration (7 students). The Symposium attracted a large and mixed audience, including parents, faculty from diverse ASU departments, internship mentors, and related professionals from water-management agencies. Highlighting the early success of the ISPI program, one intern from the inaugural class, Josh Randall, was asked to speak about his experiences working as a DCDC intern with the City of Mesa to the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body for Arizona’s three state universities.

Monica Elser, education team leader, collaborated again this year with the University of Arizona’s (UA’s) water-education programs (Project Wet, Cooperative Extension, and the Water Sustainability program) to deliver a two-day Advanced Water Educator Workshop on public perceptions of water. The 2011 workshop was the sixth in a series that provides community partners with timely information about water issues and connects university scientists (DCDC, ASU, UA) with the water-stakeholder community. DCDC has hosted this activity annually since 2006, highlighting such topics as management (2006), climate change and decision making (2007), water re-use (2008), energy-water nexus (2009), and water and the future of agriculture (2010).

Margaret Nelson worked with DCDC graduate students to organize the Decision Making Under Uncertainty poster symposium for the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Additionally, graduate fellows associated with the NSF-funded GK-12 Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools grant used DCDC research methods and findings to create classroom lessons.