Course Summary

Climate change got you down? Understanding it can be overwhelming and complicated. When it is discussed in the public sphere – in the news or social media – climate change can prove to be a divisive, deflating, and overall depressing topic. GET BACK UP!

ALL academic majors and both undergraduates and graduate students are invited to participate in this multi/trans disciplinary program set in New Delhi, India which strives to rise above the struggles involved in tackling climate change. NCSU has developed strong bonds with TERI University, one of the world’s leading climate science and sustainability organization. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Nobel Laureate, serves as TERI University’s chancellor. Heads of States and other leading figures attend TERI’s flagship sustainability workshop held every January in New Delhi, India.

The program, Eye of the Tiger, is so named for three reasons:

  • This program will provide clarity among complexity by using conceptual frameworks to help guide students through the many facets of climate change. Students will understand climate change drivers, impacts, and responses. The course will draw from students’ disciplinary perspective to create an interdisciplinary integration.
  • This program will focus on positive, proactive solutions for mitigation and adaption to anthropogenic climate change. Special attention will be paid to how working towards overall sustainability that adds to human quality of life. We will explore what people “can get” instead of what they will have “to give up” as part of the climate change solution.
  • This program is set in India, home to the Bengal tiger. The topical exploration of climate change, adaption, mitigation and sustainability will be immersed within the Indian subcontinent context. NC State students will integrate with TERI University graduate students also taking the course. To complement the typical classroom, participants will participate in three sets of field labs in India: Trip 1: Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand: Exposure: Rural/agricultural site featuring water harvesting, organic farming, air quality monitoring system, TERI community radio station for disseminating agriculture related information, weather forecasting, traditional knowledge exchange; Trip 2: Jagdishpur, Uttar Pradesh: Exposure: Solar lighting, micro-grid, biogas, integrated domestic energy system; Trip 3: Barefoot College, Rajasthan: Exposure: Solar lighting, heating, desalination plant, water conservation (rain water harvesting, dams), crafts. If time permits, we will also visit a tiger reserve, Ranthambhore National Preserve, in hope of sighting India’s national animal.

Cultural activities will include visiting the Taj Mahal and other ancient monuments in India.


Attendance is mandatory.


Random quizzes will be given.


Outlines of the notes (in Adobe pdf format) are available at the class Moodle website. If you print the notes from the web site, you may only need to make marginal notes during class, hence be able to participate in classroom discussion.


Out of respect for your instructor and fellow classmate you will turn off cell phones, refrain from talking and reading newspapers. Violators will be asked to leave and marked absent.


Two exams will be given during the course.


The two exams will count for 80% of the grade. 20% of the course grade will be based on class participation. Class participation will factor how well the student has prepared for the session beforehand. For the lab portion of the grade, students will keep an observation journal which they will use during class discussions and to write a synthesis report. 100% of the lab grade will be based on this report. Graduate students must work with the professor before the program to identify an additional assignment that will result in graduate credit to be given. No extra credit will be given.

Course Syllabus

PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGIES – Grabbing the Tiger by the Tail. The content described in the syllabus below will not be delivered in lectures where the students sit passively. Given the unique learning potential provided by this opportunity to study in India in a classroom alongside TERI-University students, the instructor and assistant will strive to make the best use of students’ time by having rich amounts of student-to-student interaction and facilitate intercultural exchange. For some classes, students will be asked to go through material prior to class and class time will be dedicated to clarifying concepts and working with the material via discussion and learning exercises. Students will practice real-world strategies that leaders and teams often employ to create change in their communities.

Part 1: Earth Systems

  • Climate Process Drivers & the Human Fingerprints on Climate Change – Warming the Earth and the atmosphere, greenhouse gases, aerosols, concentrations and emissions of trace gases, energy and Earth’s climate
  • Climate Change – temperature change, precipitation change, sea level rise, radiation, extreme events
  • Impacts & Vulnerability – Ecosystems and water resources, from polar bears to politics

Part 2: Human Systems

  • Agriculture: a victim, a culprit, and a savior – exploring the agricultural sector’s (both crop and animal) contributions to climate change, how it will be affected, and how the multi-functional role of agriculture will be part of the solution
  • Socio-Economic Linkages – as climate change drivers for risk assessment, management and social impacts
  • Developing Human and Technological Capacities – education, human health, and technology
  • Global Solutions: Managing the Crisis – The energy problem, world energy demand, conventional and renewable sources of power (wind, solar, biofuel, and wave energy)

Part 3: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Sustainability

  • Mitigation – Framework convention on climate change (international), carbon credit trading (US), energy efficiency and conservation; sinks and negative emissions: Case studies in urban planning and energy conservation
  • Adaptation – Terrestrial biomes and ecosystems; human impact on the biosphere; how will ecosystems respond and adapt. Case studies: fresh water resources (the Ganges River, India) and the melting of the arctic tundra
  • Sustainability – Conservation and stewardship; Case studies: program monitoring and evaluation, bolstering capacities for agricultural sustainability in rural areas of the developing world (West Africa, India)