Takeaways From the Climate Foundations Professional Learning Workshop

by Christina Deodatis and Cassie Xu |January 24, 2022

The Columbia Climate School offers professional learning workshops to working professionals and adult learners who want to develop new skills and explore new topics to further their job-related interests. The offerings have helped participants develop an understanding of climate and sustainability challenges through the expertise of Columbia faculty and researchers who teach in our degree programs. Professional learning opportunities cover a range of cutting-edge science in a flexible remote workshop format.

Tawhid Monzur

Tawhid Monzur is a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science and Management at Independent University in Bangladesh. He  participated in our spring 2021 Climate Foundations workshop.

If you are interested in learning more about our spring 2022 offerings, please visit our website. This spring, we are offering a Decarbonization: Policies and Practices for Countries and Companies workshop led by Martin Dietrich Brauch and Perrine Toledano, and a Polar Warming and Ice Sheet Melt: Fundamentals of the Cryosphere, Global Changes, and Impacts on Coastal Communities workshop led by David Porter. The info session for the Decarbonization workshop will take place on January 19 at 5:30pm EDT; you can RSVP here. The info session for the Polar Warming workshop will take place on February 2 at 5:30pm EDT; you can RSVP here.

Since we have been offering these opportunities, we have met wonderful learners who are committed to learning with a supportive community of professionals alongside our experts. Below, Tawhid Monzur, a spring 2021 professional learning participant who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science and Management at Independent University in Bangladesh, shares his feedback on the Climate Foundations workshop and how the knowledge and experiences he gained in that workshop are advancing his career and interests. The additions Tawhid made to his own institution based on the workshop has already increased climate knowledge among staff in an important national climate focused organization in Bangladesh, the International Center for Climate Change and Development, who participated in Tawhid’s course later in 2021.

What workshop did you participate in and what drew you to this workshop in particular?

In the spring of 2021, I participated in a Climate Foundations workshop, which was instructed by two prolific scholars and researchers [Lisa Goddard and Simon Mason] from Columbia Climate School’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, in order to better comprehend how a region’s climatic conditions’ change over time is determined. This workshop caught my attention because I wanted to gain insight about climate models, as well as the perspectives of the instructors and other attendees, who came from a variety of different professional backgrounds, about climate change, which I thought would be interesting.

What are the most valuable skills and tools you have acquired from this workshop?

The workshop guided me in gaining experience in elucidating sophisticated ideas and knowledge in layman’s terms. This will undoubtedly assist me in communicating complex concepts to my own students in an understandable manner. Among the other skills I gained from the workshop were a renewed enthusiasm for learning about climate science and meteorology, the ability to decipher complicated graphs and images, and enhanced thinking capability, all of which were and will be essential for me facilitating research and developing better teaching methods.

What is your current role and what are the responsibilities of this role?

Presently, I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science and Management at the School of Environment and Life Sciences of the Independent University, Bangladesh. The mission of the department is synchronized with the university’s overall mission to achieve sustainable economic growth by creating a relationship between community and university through classroom, laboratory and field-based education, hands-on learning, scholarly research, professional services, as well as community and voluntary services. As an instructor, I am responsible for teaching, training, and equipping students with relevant real-world skills via video documentary analysis, round-table discussion and debate, frequent field visits, and hands-on geospatial analysis and data evaluation and discussion. Apart from developing courses, I am engaged in research projects that aim to improve our understanding of the Greater Dhaka region’s population and employment structure through the use of geospatial technologies, to contribute to regional urban policy, and to pave the way for future studies on local climate zones and their ramifications in the urbanized areas of Bangladesh. 

What was the biggest highlight of this workshop?

The Climate Foundations workshop covered a variety of topics, including climate measurement tools, the Earth’s energy budget, weather forecasting and prediction, as well as the explanation and interpretation of climate data. The most interesting topic, in my opinion, was about the computer-simulated climate models in predicting average weather pattern change associated with anthropogenic intervention at the global and local levels, which was well-articulated by the instructors. By using the concept of climate models, I intend to begin a project in the identification of local climate zones in Bangladesh’s disparate urban areas, to facilitate the long-term sustainability of urban growth and development in the country.


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