Giving to Duke

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“Half the value of Duke’s energy curriculum comes from outside the classroom,” says Timothy L. Johnson, who is Program Chair of the Nicholas School's Masters of Environmental Management Energy and Environment program. Johnson’s students represent a range of disciplines—from engineering to the humanities. “The challenge is to reach all of them,” says the Associate Professor of the Practice. This is where bringing in experts comes in handy. For example, to teach students how building design affects energy consumption, Johnson invites architects and engineers to class. “Even if a student isn’t studying to be an architect, they’re going to interact with these people on the job. They need to learn how they operate.”

Johnson also organizes evening discussion panels so that Duke alums working in energy can share their experiences with students. “These talks usually evolve into unscripted career advice,” says Johnson. “It’s amazingly helpful for students to hear from professionals that working in energy is always going to be a learning process, and that you don’t have to be an expert on day one. Several students have told me these are the best career events they have attended, and all I had to do is order pizza and find a room.”