MSU Team Expands their LCLUC Project to Share US Curriculums with Central Asian Faculty in Ecology and environmental Sciences

Based on a LCLUC project on the Interdependent dynamics of food, energy and water in Kazakhstan and Mongolia: Connecting LULCC to the transitional socioecological systems (PIs: Jiquan Chen, Jinhua Zhao and Ranjeet John), Dr. Jiquan Chen expanded the project to share curriculums with junior faculty members from Central Asian countries in ecology and environmental sciences.  These initiatives were funded by the American Councils for 2020.  Nine US faculty members from five universities, mostly NASA investigators and collaborators (Peilei Fan, Ranjeet John, Colt Knight, Ginger Allington) shared key curriculums of 20 key courses in 2021 through collaborations with the Kazakh National Agrarian Research University in Almaty. Over 200 faculty members, agency professionals, and graduate students attended the training workshop (http://workshopkzusa.tilda.ws).

The team continued their success with a renewed proposal for the American Councils by “Advancing Key Curriculums of Ecology and Environmental Sciences for Regional Universities in Kazakhstan & Beyond”.  The goal of this project is to develop detailed course content and to convey how core ecology (or broadly defined environmental science) classes are taught in US universities to junior faculty members in rural Kazakhstan universities. We will focus on five major classes that are required courses for ecology majors in most US universities. Each of the courses will be covered fully as taught in the USA, with hands-on exercises in the classroom and in the field, and through a hybrid of in-person and online lectures. A team of seven US faculty members will strengthen to enhance the core courses by: (1) covering all detailed materials for each course is taught in the US; (2) including field exercises as essential components of the classes; and (3) targeting junior faculty members from regional universities. Since the curriculums and course materials used at various US institutions of higher education are different, input from multiple universities from the US is an essential feature of this effort. They will organize an 11-day workshop in the summer of 2022 that brings together faculty members from multiple institutions of higher education from the US and Kazakhstan. The lectures will include:

  1. Community Ecology, with field exercise (Fang)
  2. Rangeland Ecology, with field exercise (Knight)
  3. Landscape Ecology, with field exercise (Allington)
  4. Urban Ecology and Sustainability (Fan)
  5. Remote Sensing of Environment & UAS Applications, with field exercise (John)
  6. Sustainable Development in a Disrupted Global Economy (Graham)
  7. Global Change Science (Chen)

For more information, please contact Dr. Jiquan Chen at jqchen@msu.edu.

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