Over the course of the past year, hundreds of high school and college students from Miami worked together in classrooms and communities to collect and interpret data related to rising sea levels and to educate publics about the region’s changing environments.
Obermann Graduate Institute alum Ted Gutsche — and a dozen colleagues and partners across the country — have helped push the limits of college-high school classroom collaboration and community engagement that’s led to several accomplishments, including:
- Building water sensors through Public Lab and with help from MIT
- Communicating environmental information via The Weather Channel, The Washington Post, and NBC’s Today
- Organizing and executing a national press conference on sea level rise
- Being part of a program that received a national award for its outreach
But none of those achievements compared to these:
- Teaching media and science skills with and to fellow students
- Exploring their individual and collective agency by interacting with media students and professionals
- Collaborating in college classrooms with students and community activists
- User-testing a web-based sea level rise app that lets users see what sea level rise might mean for them, which has appeared as mentions or in great detail in publications, including local and national press
- Making media about local environments
- Being front and central to academic research about media, engagement, and public communication
The collaboration led to measured success, but didn’t come without its challenges — and lessons learned. Gutsche will be part of a panel at the March 2016 symposium about what went well, what could have gone better, and how others can work within a K12-college environment.
Robert (Ted) Gutsche, Jr. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University in Miami. He is also Affiliated Faculty with the university’s Sea Level Solutions Center and the FIU African and African Diaspora Program. Visit robertgutschejr.com.