The Sundt Honors seminar for Spring 2016 will focus on how endangered natural resources (e.g., coral reefs) have been impacted by environmental stresses that are directly linked to global climate change (CO2 emissions, ocean acidification, thermal stress) and the impacts this loss has on both economical and cultural aspects of the community. The main goal of the course will be for students to better understand which biological processes affect coral reef health, and to develop a proactive strategy to educate and involve community “buy in” that will lead to better ways of protecting corals from the impacts of climate change. The course will combine lecture and hands-on field experiences here at NMSU and at the University of Hawaii. By working with scientists, marine educators, and local public groups, this class will enlighten students in understanding how corals are affected by climate change, and provide a springboard for them to develop ideas on educating the general public on climate change and the impacts this has on biodiversity.
Students will return to NMSU and will finish their case studies by providing written documentation of the study, as well as an oral presentation for the Honors College in a small mini-symposium and at URCAS, where the campus community will be invited to learn about climate change using coral reefs as an example. Final projects that are deemed suitable for use to the UH community and beyond will be available for public use both as a written report as well as online access to the data and information collected and analyzed by the students.
The Sundt Honors seminar aims to foster student engagement by offereing intensive learning opportunities both inside and outside the traditional classroom. The Sundt Honors seminar is a unique, experienced-based, interdisciplinary seminar developed and taught by the Sundt Honors professor.