Envisioning and planning for climate change in higher education

This morning I’m speaking to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)’s conference in Cleveland, Ohio.  My topic: higher education in the climate crisis.

I’m not sure if a recording will be available, nor if anyone will live-tweet it, but I did want to share my notes here, along with my potentially cryptic slidestack:

(Why share this here?  First, to follow my open practice. Second, so people actually in the live SCUP audience don’t have to worry about taking photos  of slides, wanting printouts, etc.)

This is a somewhat usual talk for me.  Not the topic – you all know I’ve been working on higher ed and climate change for years – but because the audience was pleasantly surprising.  Unlike most academics I’ve followed and listened to, SCUP folks (campus planners, architects, designers) are already deeply thinking about what global warming might mean for academic institutions, and are planning and acting accordingly.  So I’ve adjusted my presentation according to what I’ve heard in sessions and hallway conversations.

I also added a long term component to the talk, looking out 40 years.  I touch on different ways climate change might play out, based on IPCC scenarios, and long term trends in academic culture. (Universities on Fire actually looks to the year 2100.)

SCUP asked me to list learning outcomes for the session, and here are the ones I offered:

Discuss the implications for academic research and teaching as well as how institutions might change plans if global warming becomes better or worse than projected.

Consider how the campus’s physical environment changes, from creating new buildings and renovating current ones to generating local power, rethinking grounds, changing food service, and revolutionizing transportation, and more.

Discuss the ways campus-community relations can develop for good or ill in an era of escalating climate crises and what opportunities it presents for all parties.

Consider the role higher education plays in the world as civilization rethinks its fundamental operations and purpose.

This is my first time at an in-person SCUP session, and I like it a lot.  People are thoughtful, practical, optimistic, yet realistic.  They are also very friendly and supportive. I’m grateful to SCUP for hosting me.

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One Response to Envisioning and planning for climate change in higher education

  1. Pingback: From 2023 to 2024: academia and climate change – Bryan Alexander - DNS Africa Resource Center

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