In response to the national need for progress in clean energy, a national workshop on Clean Energy Education (CEE) was held in Urbana, Illinois on October 13, 2011, under support from the National Science Foundation. It was organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in collaboration with the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Green Economy Network of Community Colleges. The goal of the workshop was to frame answers to the questions, “What are the crucial elements in a national program of CEE?” and “What are the best practices a national CEE program must adopt?” The approximately 100 participants included faculty from about 30 universities, community colleges and schools, as well as leaders from industry, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. It was the first in a series of planned activities that will bring together experts in energy education to lead the nation in creating an energy-literate citizenry for the 21st Century.
The full report of the workshop can be downloaded in pdf format. The recommendations are divided into three essential sections.
I. Priority Recommendations. Four overarching issues must be addressed in order for the nation to move forward with an agenda of clean energy education:
• Systems thinking is the essential framework for understanding
• Diverse stakeholders must be engaged in the discussion
• Multiple energy literacies must be formulated depending on the context and user
• Institutional transformation must occur to embed clean energy education across the disciplines.
II. Strategies. The breakout session participants formulated specific immediate- and long-term recommendations in the following domains:
• Energy-literate citizenry
• K-12 education
• Interdisciplinary and cross-institutional education
• Workforce development
• Industrial education and training
• International engagement.
III. Looking Ahead. The pathway forward must involve key agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education; be supported by enhanced interactions with scientific research facilities, the energy industry, business and government; and include international learning opportunities such as the US-China Clean Energy Research Center.