undergrad undergrad

The Climate Resilience Academy develops and supports initiatives in undergraduate education across the University of Miami.  The first initiative is a multidisciplinary undergraduate course, described below.

Watch the introductory video

Course Details

Information Sheet

3 Credits.  All students from all Schools and Colleges, in the humanities and sciences, are eligible.  No prerequisites.

Lead Convenor

Michael Berkowitz [Climate Resilience Academy Executive Director]

Module Instructors

Andrew Baker [Rosenstiel School], Amy Clement [Rosenstiel School], Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos [Engineering], Sharan Majumdar [Rosenstiel School], Brian Haus [Rosenstiel School], Sonia Chao [Architecture], Louis Herns Marcelin [Arts and Sciences / Medicine], Derin Ural [Engineering], Armen Henderson [Medicine], Katharine Mach [Rosenstiel School], Scotney Evans [Education and Human Development], David Kelly [Business], Jessica Owley [Law], Robin Bachin [Arts & Sciences], Chris Mader [Institute for Data Science and Computing], Alberto Cairo [Communication]

Course Description & Objectives

Climate adaptation is moving quickly and requires new forms of collaboration and thinking, breaking down traditional siloes, and replacing them with multi-faceted and collaborative approaches to arrive at informed, responsible, and innovative solutions. To train students to those ends, a problem-solving learning format will be utilized, and the course will mirror emerging interdisciplinary modalities both professionals and researchers alike are increasingly embracing to more effectively define and address resilience objectives. Students will apply those modalities, methods, and lessons to their weekly reflections and their stream and final capstone projects.

The overarching course learning objectives are for students to be able to:

  • Identify and analyze complex problems regarding resilience, climate drivers, climate challenges, and opportunities in individual and collaborative contexts.
  • Employ quantitative and qualitative methodologies to produce creative interdisciplinary and evidence-based recommendations of evolving resilience challenges, which include socio-economic, environmental, built, and policy considerations.
  • Apply adaptation principles and tools to address physical, ethical, and social dilemmas relating to existing vulnerabilities and growing climate stressors and shocks.
  • Evaluate the connections or differences between climate goals, options, and actions through iterative processes.

Mode of Education

  • Flipped Learning Methodology
    • Asynchronous mode for the weekly online delivery of the pre-recorded lectures. (1 hour)
    • Synchronous mode for the Problem-Driven and Discussion-based classes.  (2.5 hours)
  • Knowledge Transfer/Lectures (Pre-recorded, Online Delivery) 
    • A week prior to each in-person class, students will be provided access to the pre-recorded lectures for that module. 
    • After going through these immersive recorded experiences (multiple segments, collectively about an hour long for each module), students will take on the assignments designed by the instructors for that module, BEFORE attending in-person classes (i.e. step 2 below).
    • Weekly two-page student reflections will find connections or differences between the asynchronous lecture and the weekly readings and address the prompts provided by that week’s faculty leader(s).
  • Problem-Driven and Discussion-Based Class (In-Person, held in one of the prototype classrooms of the future OR online, if necessary) 
    • Each of the three course streams will culminate in a team mini-capstone project and each of these in turn will be later reevaluated, edited, or eliminated, as may be needed, when students produce their final capstone recommendations; a comprehensive set of recommendations, which tackle the resilience challenge from the three-course stream lenses.
    • Early during the semester, students will be trained to use mind-mapping and data visualization computer applications to tackle complex issues by creating simple diagrams connecting and mapping out their ideas.

Topics Covered 

One module per topic under the following primary streams:

  • Stream 1 (Built & Natural Environment)
    • (1) Climate Change and its Anthropogenic Drivers, Health and Economic Impacts
    • (2) Marine & Atmospheric Considerations, Blue/Grey Defenses, Coral Reefs/Coastal Protection and, Built Environment/Infrastructure Challenges, Adaptations, and Innovations
    • (3) Extreme Weather Events- Hurricanes and Storm Surge Flooding
    • (4) Resilient Cities: Challenges, ‘Adaptation Action Areas’, Retreat, Collaborations, and Innovations 
  • Stream 2 (Human & Societal Health)
    • (5) Climate Migration, Inequalities, Development and Disaster Management
    • (6) Food Security, Public and Global Health Concerns, Disparities and Pandemics
    • (7) Antiracism and Climate Justice Dialogues
  • Stream 3 (Sustainable Business & Policies)
    • (8) The Business of Resilience: Economic Consequences of Actions and Inactions
    • (9) Climate Law and Policies
    • (10) Climate Equity; Gentrification and Social Justice
  • Data Literacy Modules
    • *The following modules will be integrated earlier during the semester to support students’ assignments and capstone
    • (11) Introduction to Assessing Vulnerabilities- Data Collection, Mapping, Modeling
    • (12) Introduction to Data Visualization
    • (13) Global Information System (G.I.S.)  
  • Final Capstone Project Presentations
    • (14) (15)