ATEEC Fellows Institute Outcomes


Each year, as the ATEEC Fellows Institute ends, the Institute professors turn their attention to the next year’s Institute. Early in the new academic year, the professors’ research and collaboration yields the theme, book title(s), the overarching questions, and teaching ideas; an ATEEC instructional designer selects a curriculum project for the Institute; and by year end the next summer’s Institute is ready to be announced.

In January, an Institute professor teaches the theme in the classroom at the University of Northern Iowa, trying out the materials, seminars, labs, and field experiences. In mid-February returnees and first-time Fellows are selected for the next Fellows Institute.


Individual Fellows Institute Themes Core Curriculum Project Resource Units for Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL)

Individual Fellows Institute Themes

The next few paragraphs introduce each of the Fellows Institute themes since 1995 and include links to free ATEEC resources identified or developed by participants. The Fellows also provide external evaluation of many ATEEC materials on careers, curriculum, and programs in environmental and energy technologies. All materials developed at the Institutes are available for download from the Products section of the ATEEC Web site.

Locate individual Institute theme by year:

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011  

Browse through the Institute themes, beginning with the most recent:

2011 Bioremediation

The theme for the 2011 Fellows Institute addressed the subject of bioremediation. Fellows visited Itasca Biological Station (a University of Minnesota facility) in Itasca State Park, Minnesota to research the question of whether the environment can clean itself.

2010 FLOOD!

The theme for the 2010 Fellows Institute addressed the problem of flooding. Sixteen Fellows explored flood damage, watershed sites, and control methods across the Iowa/Illinois Mississippi River region. They read Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry, The Control of Nature by John McPhee, and A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008 edited by Cornelia F. Mutel. Research topics included hypoxia and contaminant transport in floodwater; how communities prepare for and respond to flood emergencies; the impact of human populations and climate change on waterways; and flood control measures, both natural and engineered. The Fellows designed teaching and learning strategies and resources that high school and two-year college instructors can use with their students to address these issues.

2009 Wind Power

The theme for the 2009 Fellows Institute examined the renewable energy field of wind power (both utility-scale and small-wind generators). Based on the book Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound by Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb and additional resources (e.g., readings, field experiences, seminars, and labs), the Fellows examined these questions: “What factors are or should be involved in the siting of wind farms?” and “What transmission and storage technologies are needed to increase the sustainable use of wind energy?” The Fellows designed theme- and problem-based educational activities emphasizing opportunities for student learning within the context of their community.

2008 Sustainable Alternatives for Fueling Transportation

The theme for the 2008 Fellows Institute was fossil fuel sustainability, which built on the 2007 theme of fossil fuel production and transportation. Based on the book Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy and additional resources (e.g., field experiences, seminars, and labs), the Fellows examined these questions: “What are the costs and benefits associated with the use of liquid fossil fuels?” and “Have technological innovations provided sustainable alternatives for fueling our transportation needs?” The 2008 Fellows built on the Google Earth-based virtual field trip produced by the 2007 Fellows. The participating teachers evaluated the Google Earth virtual field trip’s potential usefulness for classrooms and developed additional teaching and learning strategies that complement and enhance the Google Earth virtual field trip.

ATEEC Google Earth Virtual Field Trip – Promo from ATEEC EICCD.

2007 Fossil Fuel Sustainability
Using the book Beyond Oil by Kenneth S. Deffeyes and additional resources, the Fellows examined these questions while in Alaska: “Are liquid fossil fuels sustainable?” and “Will technological innovations allow humanity to use coal to meet all of its future energy needs?” The Fellows Institute produced a virtual field trip to an oil production facility in Prudhoe Bay as well as a coal mine and “clean coal” power facility in Healy, Alaska.

2006 Invasive Species
Using Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by A. Burdick and additional resources and field experiences, the Fellows Institute examined the question, “Is biological control the best strategy for managing ecosystems that are being altered by alien invasive species?” These were the teachers’ first attempts at creating public service announcements for educational purposes. The following materials were developed at the Institute.

2005 Solid Waste Issues—Social Injustice vs Environmental Benefits

Using Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago by D. N. Pellow and additional resources, the Fellows Institute examined the question, “Do social injustices and/or human health risks outweigh the environmental benefits of waste recycling?” and developed the following instructional materials.

2004 Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico

The 2004 Fellows Institute explored the large, seasonal area of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico called the “Dead Zone.”  Issues surrounded farm chemicals from the vast Mississippi River watershed, which empties into the Gulf.

2003 Climate Change

The 2003 Fellows Institute explored the issues surrounding climate change. The Fellows examined a Cape Wind case study, which includes the aspect of a “not in my back yard” (commonly referred to as NIMBY) reaction by residents in the Cape Cod area of a proposed wind farm (a controversy that continues to divide stakeholders in the project). The Institute teaching and learning resource was the ATEEC-MIT CD-ROM, Technology and Environmental Decisionmaking.

2002 Epidemic!
Using Living Terrors by M.T. Osterholm and J. Schwartz and the ATEEC-MIT CD-ROM Epidemic! Emerging/Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, the Fellows returned to an environmental health theme through case studies of recent outbreaks of bacterial, protozoan, and viral diseases affected by environmental change and/or bioterrorism. Researchers from MIT and other institutions such as Purdue, the Wisconsin Laboratory of Hygiene, and the University of Iowa joined UNI faculty and graduate students to help the ATEEC Fellows understand the environmental biology, epidemiology, detection, and human health effects of living environmental contaminates.

2001 Clean Transportation Fuels
The 2001 Fellows prepared for the Institute by reading the module “MTBE: From America’s Most Wanted to Most Unwanted Gasoline Additive” from the ATEEC-MIT CD-ROM Technology and Environmental Decisionmaking. Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was added to gasoline to solve air pollution problems in the U.S., but years of leaks from underground storage tanks put MTBE in the nation’s ground water. The 2001 Fellows Institute examined the question “Why didn’t we foresee the potential for water pollution?” and the emerging technology and related environmental and economic issues of ethanol production plants, which use renewable resources like corn.

2000 Revisiting the 1995-1999 Themes

After the completion of the ATEEC Recommended Core Curriculum Project, the Fellows suggested that teachers are often searching for teaching and learning activities. So the Fellows were invited to develop or identify a set of problem-based environmental technology activities, including applicable SCANS skills (i.e., skills necessary for employability) in each. The list in this section includes the entire list of SCANS employability skills, the blank template used by the Fellows, and activities for several environmental topics.

  • Blank Activity Template. This blank template was the tool used by the Fellows during development of the activities.
  • Core Curriculum, Environmental Technology Activities. Topics include Air Quality, Biodiversity, Communications, Energy and Fuels, Environmental Health and Safety, Land Investigations, Mathematics Applications, Population Growth, Radiation, Resource Depletion, Waste Management, and Water Quality.

1999 Environmental Justice
Does the decline of a local neighborhood represent an environmental injustice caused by pollution or some other environmental factor, or are other causes responsible for the neighborhood’s condition, such as general economic downturn in the community? Based on experiences at the Institute, the following problem-based activity was developed.

1998 Environmental Health
Newly identified as well as re-emerging infectious diseases are increasingly problematic as some pathogens are developing resistance to treatments such as antibiotics. Using the books And The Waters Turned To Blood by Rodney Barker, Virus X: Tracking the New Killer Plagues by Frank Ryan, as well as experiences at the Institute, the following problem-based activities were developed.

1997 Environmental Risk Assessment
Risk assessment uses the scientific method to determine how dangerous something can be. Based on experiences at the Institute, the following problem-based activities were developed.

1996 Environmental Disaster
Based on Degrees of Disaster: Prince William Sound: How Nature Reels and Rebounds by Jeff Wheelwright and experiences at the Institute, the following problem-based activities were developed.

1995 The State of the Earth

“The State of the Earth,” which was the theme of this inaugural ATEEC Fellows Institute, exposed conflicting views of environmental issues. Using Earth in the Balance by Al Gore and A Moment on the Earth by Gregg Easterbrook, the following problem-based activities were developed.

Core Curriculum Project

ATEEC’s recommended core curriculum enables students to move seamlessly from four years of high school coursework to two years of Associate’s degree coursework. The rigor of the core curriculum contributes to students’ potential for transferring to a university after earning an Associate’s degree. As part of the ATEEC Fellows’ work on the core curriculum, they also identified math, critical thinking, science, technical, and communication knowledge and skills that must be achieved. These are expressed as the minimum skills needed for entry-level environmental technology occupational tasks.

NOTE: Since the knowledge and skills lists were developed in the late 1990s, students and teachers must consider the many changes in technologies since then. The core curriculum is in the process of being updated to correlate with ATEEC’s 2008 Defining Environmental Technology and Defining Energy Technologies and Services reports.

Download ATEEC’s original “Model Environmental Technology 4+2 Core Program” explained on the CD-ROM Bring Energy to Your Campus.

Also see the ATEEC Fellows’ “Knowledge and Skills for Environmental Technology.”

Resource Units for Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL)

A group of ATEEC Fellows discusses six CTL strategies. The year 2000 became a time of reflection among citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world. It was natural to wonder what the impending era, a new millennium, would hold for the Earth. 2000 was thus the time for the ATEEC Fellows Institute to revisit the 1995-1999 themes. The year 2000 Fellows became engaged in examining and questioning environmental progress, from Vice President Al Gore’s concerns and warnings versus Gregg Easterbrook’s positive view of the Earth’s ability to heal itself (1995) to the health effects of persons living by chemical plants—usually poor people without a voice and power (1999).