A three-year, $299,018 Improving Undergraduate STEM Education grant aims to foster undergraduate students’ science learning and water literacy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The funding will support the development of a new Water in Society undergraduate course, an interdisciplinary course drawing from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, hydrological sciences, and social and decision sciences.
“This course will be an introduction to hydrology but will also foster the teaching of science through big issues, such as water for agriculture,” said Cory Forbes, associate professor and science literacy coordinator at UNL and project leader of the grant.
Forbes is working on integrating this course into general education curriculum for students across all UNL campuses. It will be a required course as part of the new food, energy and water in society minor offered through the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The minor is designed to prepare all students, regardless of major, to make informed decisions regarding current and emerging food, energy and water issues, and the interrelatedness of agriculture, natural resources and society.
The new course also aligns with the mission of the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Science Literacy Initiative, which was formed to foster a scientifically literate society capable of making effective decisions grounded in STEM-informed analysis of complex, real-world challenges associated with food, fuel, water, landscape and people issues.
In addition to Forbes, Nicholas Brozovic, director of policy for the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, and Trenton Franz, assistant professor in the UNL School of Natural Resources, are working on the project.
Water in Society will be offered in spring 2017.