Rutgers’ Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (C2R2) traineeship works with research-based Masters’ and Ph.D. students to build the skills needed to address real-world resilience issues in the face of climate change.
Over their first two years, C2R2 trainees will take the three core courses and three elective courses needed to fulfill the requirements for the C2R2 Graduate Certificate. The core courses include: (1) a transdisciplinary seminar on methods and perspectives in coastal climate risk and resilience; (2) a course on communicating science to decision-makers; and (3) a studio workshop that brings trainees together with coastal stakeholders to address real decision problems. The elective courses cover each of natural, socio-economic, and engineered systems in more detail. In addition to the certificate requirements, trainees participate in a two-week summer field course on coastal resilience. Additional information on these courses can be found below.
In addition to their coursework, throughout their graduate careers, trainees engage in coastal climate risk and resilience-related research with a C2R2 faculty member. For masters’ students, this research is expected to form the basis of their thesis, which they will ideally defend at the end of their second year. For Ph.D. trainees, this research is expected to form the basis of either their research proposal or a portion thereof. The C2R2 program also offers credit for internship experiences, which students can elect to take based on their career goals.
A Trainee’s Schedule
In their first fall semester, trainees will focus on disciplinary coursework, so that they begin their transdisciplinary activities with a strong root in their disciplinary field. Trainees will also participate in a C2R2 introductory workshop on transdisciplinary research and the development of mental models. For the following year and a half, trainees will engage in their formal transdisciplinary coursework, including the three core courses, the three electives, and the field course, and meet in teams of teams of 2–3 students and a faculty member at least three times a semester to discuss barriers and opportunities in their disciplinary fields. During the spring term of their second year, trainees also take part in a Capstone Workshop. Building upon the trainees’ field and studio course experiences, this workshop helps trainees develop their mental models of how institutions function in the face of ecological and environmental change.
Another important component of the traineeship is professional development. Rutgers’ National Research Mentorship Network’s Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Network (CAN) is developing a mechanism to institutionalize better professional development opportunities for graduate students, especially student from underrepresented populations. Beyond funding and written communication, CAN will also develop workshops that include ethics and outreach. Trainees are required to complete all four full-day professional development workshops (i.e., Funding, Communication in Writing, Ethics, and Outreach).
Trainees are required to complete the following courses:
Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (Spring). This course explores issues related to coastal risk and resilience by integrating perspectives from climate science, geography, sociology, economics, urban planning, ecology, and civil & environmental engineering. Each class session centers on a discussion led by a member of the faculty or by an outside guest and focuses on transdisciplinary learning, new perspectives, and current issues within the context of more than one disciplines. This course introduces students to a broad conceptual modeling framework and encourage critical questioning of disciplinary scopes, and biases. The goal of the course is for students to connect new knowledge among the different disciplines and create a deeper understanding related to human experience with coastal adaptation and resilience.
Communicating Science to Decision-Makers (Spring). This theory-and-practice course focuses on communicating science to policymakers, business leaders, and the general public. It emphasizes the interactive aspects of communication, in which competency depends on both speaking and listening, and in which facts must be “constructed” according to contextual norms rather than merely transmitted. It also includes guest lectures by non-academic professionals on their career pathways and experiences. The course introduces students to the latest research-based evidence about effective communication of risk, vulnerabilities and coastal science, and it provides a deep understanding of strategies to communicate and engage stakeholders in processes leading to assessment of coastal vulnerabilities and hazards and an appreciation of and support for coastal resilience planning and action. The course goes beyond strategies that rely on “one way” communication and expands students’ capacity to lead and facilitate engaged processes that result in outcomes that enhance coastal resilience.
Field Course on Climate Resilience along New Jersey’s Shores (Summer). This short, intensive summer field course is hosted at the Jacques Costeau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) in Tuckerton, New Jersey. This location is a New Jersey hub for coastal municipal resiliency planning. The course focuses on the current efforts underway in planning for resiliency along the New Jersey Shore. Trainees are immersed in the unique challenges faced between the diverse “shores” of New Jersey. They interact directly with Rutgers staff leading municipal resiliency planning and have direct access to and exchanges with municipalities and counties on the front line of resiliency planning. The course includes tours and meetings with regional municipal officials, and it also involves involve comparative analysis of the different interactions.
Studio Workshop on Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (Fall). The studio workshop pairs students with a client (such as a coastal community) to assess the risks posed to the client by climate change and strategies for managing that risk. This course helps integrate the disciplinary perspectives of participating graduate students and engage them in the development of land-use, capital improvements, or hazard-mitigation planning for a client, such as a coastal municipality. The studio experience exposes students to local lay knowledge, public decision-making procedures, and the challenges of contributing scientific information to contentious public policy debates. The modeling approach introduced in the Perspectives course is here linked to application-specific tools including benefit-cost analysis, financial analysis, risk assessment, and GIS.
In addition to these four core courses, trainees take three 3-credit elective courses. Each student is required to take at least one course covering (1) natural systems, (2) socio-economic systems, and (3) engineering systems of coastal resilience. Current elective courses are listed below; others may be substituted with permission from the traineeship director.
|Natural Systems||Socio-Economic Systems||Engineered Systems|
|16:107:545 Physical Climatology||11:372:444 Watershed Management||16:180:563 Advanced Hydrology|
|16:215:506 Estuarine Ecology||16:450:508 Environment and Development||16:180:565 Biogeochemical Engineering|
|16:215:510 Conservation Ecology||16:450:510 Water Resources Management||16:180:566 Sediment Transport|
|16:215:587 Urban Ecology||16:460:571 Climate Change Risk Analysis||16:180:556 Methods and Models for Resilient Building and Infrastructure Systems|
|16:215:520 Landscape Ecology||34:833:686 Climate Governance||16:180:575 Groundwater Engineering I|
|16:450:504 Coastal Geomorphology||34:970:618 Environmental Planning and Management||16:180:590 Coastal Engineering|
|16:460:528 Groundwater Modeling||34:970:619 Environmental Economics and Policy||16:180:592 Green Infrastructure for Water Management|
|16:460:571 Climate Change Risk Analysis||34:833:562 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution||16:375:504 Water and Wastewater Treatment|
|16:712:501 Physical Oceanography||34:970:523 Environmental Law and Policy||16:375:509 Groundwater Pollution|
|16:712:503 Coastal Ocean Dynamics||34:970:520 Planning and Land Use Administration||16:450:507 Applied Geomorphology|
|16:180:591 Sustainable Environmental Biotechnology (3)|