Teaching The Global Water Crisis

Monday, February 8, 2021 - 5:30pm to Friday, February 12, 2021 - 5:30pm

Significant portions of the world's population lack access to sufficient quantities of water or to water of adequate quality - standards enshrined in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This unfolding global water crisis is making life precarious for billions of people and will increasingly foment environmental conflict, spur transnational migration, strain ecological systems, and exacerbate existing inequalities around the planet. 

This free, cross-disciplinary mini-course for K-12 educators will explore the global water crisis through attention to its geo-political, cultural, economic, and technological aspects, with particular attention to scholars and practitioners working within the environmental, political, and technological framework to address these challenges using a people-centered approach. Special attention will be given to the case of East Asia.


Benefits for K-16 educators: Educators who attend all three session will receive a Certificate of Completion and a set of grade-appropriate materials for their classrooms. Pennsylvania educators who want Act 48 hours must attend all three sessions. This mini-course is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA), and Global Studies Center, and is co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh. 

The Mini Course will take place on February 8, 10, and 12, 2021

At 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM (EST) or  4:30 PM - 7:30 PM (CT)

The programs will be conducted via Zoom. You can sign up for one or all of these presentations here!

Ph.D (C) Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh
Caitlin Schroering (she/her/hers) is a sixth year PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include environmental sociology, transnational social movements, resource conflicts, political economy/world-system analysis, and feminist and decolonial research methodologies. Her dissertation, titled The Global Economy, Resource Conflicts, and Transnational Social Movements: Dimensions of Resistance to Water Privatization, examines how social movements are mobilizing around water rights. Based on extensive fieldwork with two movements fighting against water privatization, one in Brazil and one in the United States (supported by a Tinker Grant, Nationality Rooms Scholarship, and predoctoral Mellon Fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh), she shows how global communications and organizing are occurring around water and global North movements are engaging with and learning from the global South and vice versa, with global South movements playing a more prominent and innovative role than previous scholarship demonstrates.
Straub Ph.D
Dr. Straub is a historian interested in the intersection of environment, technology, culture and science. Her current research explores the history of chemical and mechanical water softening and water conditioning with a focus on the tools and processes created to manipulate water as well as people’s attitudes towards and definitions of water. She received her PhD in history from Temple University in 2020 and is currently the research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh’s World History Center.
Soltz Ph.D
Bloomsburg University
Dr. Soltz earned her doctorate in biology from the University of California, Irvine in 1982. She served for three years as an Ecologist for the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She then joined the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California where Dr. Soltz was appointed Director of Environmental Compliance. During her nearly 20-year career in flood control and water resource management, Dr. Soltz had a key role in negotiating critical environmental agreements for a variety of significant and precedent-setting projects including the Seven Oaks and Diamond Valley dams located in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California. She earned the President’s Environmental and Conservation Challenge Award in 1992. In Washington, Dr. Soltz served on a number of governing boards including the Yakima Basin Storage Alliance, Kittitas County Board of Health Advisory Committee, Yakima Provincial Advisory Committee for the Okanogan and Wenatchee national forests and the Western Art Association.
Senior Fellow and Director, Stimson
Brian is an expert on transboundary issues in the Mekong region and specializes in China’s economic cooperation with Southeast Asia. He spent more than 15 years living and working in China and over the last two decades has conducted extensive research with stakeholders in the Mekong region. He is widely recognized as a leading voice on environmental, energy, and water security issues in the Mekong. Brian is co-lead on the Mekong Dam Monitor project and serves as chair of the Stimson Center’s War Legacy Working Group. His first book, Last Days of the Mighty Mekong, was published by Zed Books in 2019. Before coming to the Stimson Center, he served as the Director of the IES Kunming Center at Yunnan University and as a consultant to the UNDP Lancang-Mekong Economic Cooperation program in Kunming, Yunnan province. He holds a MA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from Bucknell University.
Gunckel Ph.D
University of Arizona
Kristin L. Gunckel is a professor of science education at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on developing empirically-grounded learning progressions for environmental science literacy, with an emphasis on water in environmental systems. She has been involved in numerous NSF-funded projects to develop learning progression-based curriculum materials, instructional tools, and formative assessments. In addition, Kristin has conducted teacher professional development for teaching about water and investigated teacher learning about learning progressions. Kristin received her PhD in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University in 2008.
Oakland Catholic High School
Ms. McNulty received both her B.S. Ed and Master of Liberal Studies from Duquesne University and has completed additional graduate work at both Duquesne and at Pitt. She has been awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships, three Fulbright-Hays Fellowships, two All-Star Educator awards and the World Affairs Council's George C. Oehmler Award. Ms. McNulty is active with the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia and works with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh on their Teacher Advisory Board and the Global Scholars selection committee. Ms. McNulty also served as Oakland Catholic's Director of the Global Competence Initiative.


Monday, February 8, 2021~5:30 pm - 8:30 pm (Eastern Time) / 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm (Central Time)

5:30 PM - Welcome and Housekeeping
5:40 PM - Dr. Alexandra Straub- Modern Water
10 min Q & A
10 min Break (to 6:50 PM)
6:55 PM- Dr. Caitlin Schroering- Water Rights in the Global South 
10 min Q & A
30 min - Dr. Thomas Mueller - Arc GIS Supplement 


Wednesday, February 10, 2021~5:30 pm - 8:30 pm (Eastern Time) / 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm (Central Time)

5:30 PM - Welcome and Housekeeping
5:40 PM - Dr. Roberta Soltz (5:40 PM-6:25 PM) -Water in Politics in China and Tibetan Plateau 
10 min Q&A
10 min Break (to 6:50 PM)
6:55 PM - Dr. Kristin Gunckel (6:55 PM -7:35 PM) - Understanding the Science and Environment of Water 
10 min Q&A
30 min - Dr. Thomas Mueller - Arc GIS Supplement 
8:15 PM - Discussion and Wrap Up


Friday, February 12, 2021~5:30 pm - 8:30 pm (Eastern Time) / 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm (Central Time)

5:30 PM - Welcome and Housekeeping
5:40 PM - 6:30 PM Dr. Brian Eyler (50 minutes) - Water, Energy, and Sustainability: A Look at the Mekong 
Mekong Dam Monitor: https://monitor.mekongwater.org/
Mekong Infrastructure Tracker: https://www.stimson.org/2020/mekong-infrastructure-tracker-tool/
20 min Q&A (to 6:50 PM)
10 min Break (to 7:00 PM)
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM -  Cindy McNulty- Teaching about Modern Water Issues Teacher-led Curriculum Session 

Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center, NCTA

Patrick W. Hughes