During the academic year, we hold monthly online meetings on select Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST).  If you would like to join our mailing list, please email Kristi Kremers.

2019-2020 Meeting Schedule

Wednesday, Sept. 18 with special guest Chris Sandbrook


It’s our first ANGLES meeting of the semester! Dr. Chris Sandbrook from the University of Cambridge will share with us efforts ongoing across the pond to create an ANGLES-like network.

The University of Cambridge has offered a Masters in Conservation Leadership since 2010. During this period several other degrees and short courses aiming to build conservation leadership capacity have emerged. A group of those running these programs recently convened in Cambridge to discuss “New Directions in Conservation Leadership”. The result is a loose collective of like minded organizations who are exploring new ways to share information and work collaboratively in the future. They are keen to learn more from the experience of ANGLES, and would also be happy to share any lessons they have learned at this early stage.

We’ll also have updates on the SESYNC proposal and the upcoming release of Developing Change Agents on October 15th.

For the rest of the year, our meetings will feature the authors of Developing Change Agents. Feel free to invite colleagues and students for these conversations. A week before each meeting, the featured chapter will be sent out to participants. We’re thrilled to feature this work because what could be better than a book club with the actual authors themselves which lead to real-world, practical applications for your programs and students.

 

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 16


Climate Change and Health: An Interdisciplinary Exemplar

Shanda Demorest, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Teddie Potter, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

The Mandarin character for “crisis” includes the characters for both “danger” and “opportunity.” The Lancet Commission uses this duality to describe the global climate change crisis. Indeed, climate change is the world’s largest public health threat, but it also provides a great opportunity for humanity to create solutions by working together toward necessary societal change. At the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, we have taken a team-based approach to address climate change from a health education perspective. In this initiative, we: 1) collate and implement curriculum on human and animal health in the context of climate change (One Health) into all health programs; 2) facilitate integration of health student knowledge into community practice settings (through climate change mitigation via environmental sustainability initiatives); and 3) prepare health students to affect change as future health professionals via partnership and systems-thinking competencies. This initiative includes Climate Champions from eight health professional schools, and it has thus far reached over 1,100 interdisciplinary health students and 60 faculty and affiliates since its launch. Building knowledge and skills related to the health impacts of climate change as well as interprofessional partnership and systems-thinking prepares health students to address human and animal health beyond a single discipline. Indeed, climate change is vast and systemic; it simply cannot be solved unless we work together. RSVP here.

Wednesday, Nov. 13

Science Outside the Lab (North): A science and public policy immersion program in Canada
Kimberly John, Project Administrator, McGill University
Matt Harsh, Assistant Professor, Centre for Engineering in Society, Concordia University
Eric Kennedy, Assistant Professor, Disaster & Emergency Management, School of Administrative Studies, York University

To tackle complex problems, the next generation of policy leaders need more than simply a scientific or political background. Rather, they need to be able to navigate the intertwined dimensions of policy, evidence, public engagement, and science. One way we’re building this capacity among emerging leaders in Canada is through the “Science Outside the Lab” program, an experiential education approach to building cross-sectoral relationships and expertise. In this seminar, we’ll discuss the program and the ways it has changed thanks to annual evaluation. RSVP here.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Students as Drivers of Change: Advancing Sustainability Science, Confronting Society’s Grand Challenges
Carla Carlson, Special Consultant – Grand Challenges Research Initiative, Office of the Executive VP & Provost, University of Minnesota

Students are essential to emerging fields of science – including the field of sustainability science. Griffith and Mullins (1972) describe the importance of engaging graduate students, in particular, to participate in research and training opportunities in emerging fields and to teach younger students. They emphasize the student role, stating, “The importance of these activities is clear: groups without students die” (p. 962). My own recent research (dissertation, May 2017) focused on the factors related to sustainability science that may influence the behavior of faculty members in their work, in areas of research, teaching, and community engagement. RSVP here.

Wednesday, Jan. 29


The Masters of Development Practice (MDP): Reflections on an Adaptive and Collaborative Program Strategy to Develop Integrative Leaders in Sustainable Development
David Wilsey, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Minnesota

In the fall of 2010, the first cohort matriculated as students in the masters of development practice, or MDP. The MDP program emerged as an innovative, curricular solution to the perceived absence of professionals able to navigate the complex, dynamic space between academic theory and research and field-based programs and practice within the broad field of international development. MDP was designed as more than a curriculum, it was designed as a network of programs, each situated in different schools in different regions of the world, each operationalizing a shared, though not standardized, curricular approach. Three key elements included coursework across disciplines, embedded and on-site experiential learning, and deliberate, cross-network engagement designed to foster rapid innovation and program coevolution. We hope to share the story of this program’s design and evolution, the successes and challenges along the way, and how this approach to education and leadership development suggests a model for other fields recognizing the complexity and dynamism of contemporary challenges, both local and global. RSVP here.

Wednesday, Feb. 12


Supporting and Developing Competencies for Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research: A Ph.D. Scholar Perspective
Petra Holden, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town
Jessica Cockburn, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, South Africa

Transdisciplinary research is an inherently collective endeavour, yet postgraduate students at higher education institutes (HEIs) are still expected to conduct research as individuals and are awarded degrees based on individual research performance. In this chapter, we explore what is needed for transdisciplinary research at postgraduate level at HEIs. We address the following questions which emerge in this growing field: What competencies, dispositions, and tools do postgraduate students require to succeed as transdisciplinary researchers and become leaders in the field? What kinds of institutional innovations are required at HEIs to support the development of transdisciplinary competencies among postgraduate scholars? We reflect on experiences of two of us who recently completed our PhDs, in which we sought to operationalise transdisciplinarity. We draw on recent theory on education for sustainable development related to key competencies for sustainability and existing models of learning processes for developing these types of competencies. These include, for example, challenge labs, change labs, work-based learning, and joint projects. Reflecting critically on the challenges and successes of our own transdisciplinary research experiences at doctoral level, as well as on these existing models of learning processes for engaged research, we suggest potential models for development of transdisciplinary competencies at postgraduate level. RSVP here.


Wednesday, March 18


What it Takes for Emerging Sustainability Leaders to Inform Policy
Stephen Posner, Director of Policy Outreach with the University of Vermont, Gund Institute of Environment. Previously, Stephen was Assistant Director of Policy Engagement with COMPASS.

Cultivating the next generation of sustainability leaders who can create dynamic relationships between science and policy is essential for responding to complex sustainability challenges. Effectively spanning boundaries between science and policy can enhance the relevance of research to address societal challenges, foster opportunities for the use of scientific evidence in decisions that have implications for sustainability, and empower leaders to advance needed change in social-ecological systems. But it’s not always clear to graduate students how they can work across professional, cultural, and institutional boundaries at the science-policy interface, or what’s to be gained by transcending such boundaries. Stephen Posner weaves together diverse perspectives from the theory of science communication and boundary spanning, along with insights from decades of practice at the leading edge of training scientists to engage with policy and communicate their research in compelling ways to the audiences that matter most. RSVP here.

Wednesday, April 15


The Key Capacities of Sustainability Change Agents
Kristi Kremers, Director of Graduate and Faculty Leadership Programs, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
Alexander Liepens, Academic Associate in Teaching and Learning Services at McGill University
Abigail York, Associate Professor of Governance and Public Policy and Senior Sustainability Scientist, Arizona State University

The editors of Developing Change Agents will discuss the themes of the book and key takeaways that can be implemented by other programs and universities to support the sustainability leaders of the present and future. RSVP here.