Interdisciplinary Humanities Group: Climate Change

Group leaders:  Ron Kramer (Sociology),  Dave Karowe (Biological Sciences) and Paul Clements (Department of Political Science)

Initiated in the spring of 2012, the interdisciplinary Climate Change Working Group operates under the auspices of the WMU Center for Humanities. The three original founders are Ron Kramer (Sociology), Paul Clements (Political Science) and Dave Karowe (Biological Sciences). As climate change will affect all of us, without regard to academic discipline, the group has encouraged an integrated and interdisciplinary approach as essential to developing knowledge and encouraging action. The Climate Change Working Group is proud to report that the group now consists of about 50 faculty and staff, of which about 20 are active “core” members. Core members include faculty in the Departments of Environmental and Sustainability, Biological Sciences, Political Science, Sociology, Chemistry, English, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Geography, and also administrators and staff of the Lee Honors College, Office for Sustainability, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.

Primary goals

  1. Education of WMU students, faculty and staff to increase their awareness and understanding of climate change
  2. Community outreach to engage interested citizens in activities related to climate change mitigation
  3. Extramural funding for research and training related to climate change

During the 2021-22 academic year the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) normally met every other week on WebEx. Activities included:

  • Teaching ENVS 1000 Climate Challenged Society with a variety of guest lecturers.
  • Book club met virtually once a month.
  • Presentations by authors of books discussed at book club including Amitav Ghosh.
  • Four scholarships awarded to graduate students for climate change related research.
  • With the Office for Faculty Development, organized a faculty Learning Community on Climate Change Across the Curriculum that met six times in the Spring semester.
  • Updated information for the Speakers Bureau on the CCWG website
  • Continued to support the Climate Change Minor and the Graduate Certificate in Climate Change Policy and Management
  • Participated in discussions with student groups and the administration on updating WMU’s Climate Action Plan
  • Submitted a proposal for a Fulbright Scholar Scholar-in-Residence Grant
  • Supported meetings on ways to deal with climate anxiety
  • Awarded graduate and undergraduate Climate Writing Awards
  • Continued to discuss our Interdisciplinarity Proposal with the WMU administration