By Nam Tran, intern, Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska
This spring, students at the University of Nebraska will have an opportunity to explore a topic that will undoubtedly impact their lives long after graduation: water and the many ways it touches human life. Water in Society, a new introductory undergraduate course at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, will be offered in January 2017.
The course is designed to further science literacy while preparing students, regardless of major, to make informed decisions about local and global issues related to water, energy and food. Students will be introduced to various hydrologic systems and will develop skills to effectively analyze and engage in decision-making regarding the complex challenges associated with water – a limited and vital natural resource.
Supported by a three-year, nearly $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to improve undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, the course draws on the scientific, social and economic dimensions of historical and contemporary water systems.
“By targeting first-year undergraduate students, the course has the potential to impact tomorrow’s STEM workforce, as well as cultivate water literacy,” said Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow Cory Forbes, project leader of the grant and associate professor and science literacy coordinator in the UNL School of Natural Resources.
The project is grounded in collaboration between the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at UNL, leveraging IANR’s Science Literacy Initiative, the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) and the recently established Food, Energy & Water in Society minor.
The interdisciplinary team working with Forbes on the project includes Nick Brozovic, WFI director of policy, Trenton Franz, Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow and assistant professor in the UNL School of Natural Resources and Troy Sadler from the ReSTEM Institute at the University of Missouri. Diane Lally and Destini Petitt, both graduate students in the UNL School of Natural Resources, will serve as teaching assistants.
“I look forward to helping teach this course as part of the new Food, Energy and Water in Society minor offered through the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,” said Brozovic. “Our hope is to help prepare tomorrow’s leaders to make informed decisions on current and emerging food, energy and water issues and to better understand the interconnectedness of agriculture, natural resources and society.”
UNL students may register for Water in Society (SCIL 109, NRES 109, AECN 109) beginning Oct. 23. For more information, contact Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nam Tran is a communications and public relations intern at the Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska. Tran graduated from UNL in August with bachelor’s degrees in both journalism and advertising and PR.