Global Change Advising
Students wishing to pursue an academic minor in Global Change must develop a specific plan for its completion in consultation with Prof. Ben van der Pluijm (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Program in the Environment.
Global Change represents one of the most pressing scientific and societal issues of our times. When one contemplates the phrase "global change," topics such as global warming, human population, biodiversity, water resources, and the ozone hole come to mind, but also natural phenomena like earthquakes, volcanoes, and extreme weather increasingly affect our lives. Every day, the activities of billions of humans are altering the planet on which we live. Over the past century, through our ever-increasing population and mastery of technology, humans are changing the global environment at a pace unknown to natural history. The prospects of global warming, environmental degradation, and rapid population growth today constitute a series of changes that may drastically alter our way of life, and could even threaten the very survival of the human species.
Understanding the underlying processes of global change is one of the challenges facing us today. Since our world is increasingly pervaded, shaped and influenced by science and technology, all students require a knowledge of the natural world, the processes of science and social science, and an understanding of the role of human activity in shaping our world. Furthermore, since global change affects the citizens and the policy makers of every nation, there is a growing need for scientists working in the area of global change to learn to communicate their findings to the public and translate them into programmatic documents useful to policy makers.
The University of Michigan's Global Change curriculum is a model approach in undergraduate natural and social science education, offering an interdisciplinary, introductory course sequence that investigates the causes and potential impacts of global change, from physical and human perspectives, using a combination of traditional lecture-based and modern computer-based teaching methodologies, and hands-on exercises. Theoretical background, case studies, and computer simulations are used to explore various conditions for sustainability. These courses are aimed at first- and second-year students who want to understand the historical and modern aspects of Global Change, and paths to sustainability.
In order to develop our understanding of the processes that sustain life on Earth, it is necessary to draw on the knowledge and viewpoints of several schools and departments at the University of Michigan, including the Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Geology, Sociology in the College of LS&A, the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science in College of Engineering, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ross School of Business.
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