The next few months will bring some amazing opportunities for members of the community to engage with world-renowned University of Arizona faculty members whose passions lie in science, literature, history, and many other disciplines.
The first is the annual College of Science Lecture Series, which has become a Tucson institution over the last decade. This year, the series features six internationally recognized researchers who will discuss a range of topics related to the theme of "Earth Transformed." More information about the series can be found in the story below.
These lectures are sure to be powerful and compelling for those who attend. The College of Science is furthering their impact by using the series to create an opportunity geared toward science teachers in grades 6 through 12. They are invited to enroll in a 1-unit course structured around the lectures. Each week during the series, the teachers will spend the hour before the talk participating in an activity related to teaching science or will learn about a K-12 outreach opportunity at the UA. During the second hour, the class will attend that week's lecture. The third hour consists of discussion about the lecture and its application to the classroom.
February will bring a literary treasure to our campus. The UA was selected as Arizona's host site for a nationwide tour of Shakespeare's First Folio, one of literature's most precious items. The exhibition opens Feb. 15 and will be open to the public. We have worked with partners around the state on this effort, which will include workshops for teachers, a family event at the Arizona State Museum, a panel discussion with UA and Arizona State University professors, and outreach opportunities in Yuma, Casa Grande, and the Phoenix area. More information can be found here.
In March, we welcome back the Tucson Festival of Books, a celebration of reading and writing that has grown to include much more, such as Science City, where UA scientists help young people explore science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) through hands-on activities and dynamic presentations. This year's festival will be held on the UA campus March 12-13.
Finally, I would like to mention a STEM event that drew thousands of children and parents to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. On Jan. 9, we held the second annual Connect2STEM, a family friendly event designed to introduce children to a university environment while sparking interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. You can see photos from the event on The Arizona Republic's website.
With the current El Niño predicted to be one of the top three strongest on record, the prospect of high rainfall totals and drought relief has taken the public and media by storm. To feed that interest, the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, or CLIMAS, program has launched the El Niño-Southern Oscillation Hub, a Web page for all things El Niño. With a mix of basic facts, graphs, charts and timely articles, the site is targeted to weather enthusiasts and resource managers alike.
To coincide with Tucson's designation as the newest UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the Center for Regional Food Studies has been established at the UA. Created by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Southwest Center, the new center will advance food justice, food security and food systems innovations in the border states, and will play an essential role in helping the city of Tucson carry out the educational and outreach commitments connected with being a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
This year's College of Science lecture series, "Earth Transformed," will include six presentations focusing on climate change and its impact on the planet. The series begins Jan. 25 with a lecture by Joellen Russell, an associate professor of geosciences, who will discuss the role that the ocean plays in climate. All of the lectures will be streamed live online and made available on iTunes U and YouTube.