MTSU Honors Lecture Series focuses on ‘Climate Cha...

MTSU Honors Lecture Series focuses on ‘Climate Change’

Global warming and climate change continue to generate discussion and analyses, and MTSU is offering a series of upcoming public lectures sure to inspire further scrutiny and debate.

The MTSU Honors College began a 10-week look — from a variety of academic perspectives — on “Climate Change” for its weekly Spring Lecture Series beginning Monday, Feb. 3.

The Honors Lecture Series meets in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. (MTSU file photo)

The Honors Lecture Series meets in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. (MTSU file photo)

The lecture series is part of a longstanding Honors upper division class, but is open to the general public. It is held starting at 3 p.m. every Monday (except March 9 because of spring break) through April 13 in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

This semester, students and the visiting public will hear climate change perspectives in philosophy, politics, economics, data science and the Bible, among others.

One highlight will be an April 6 presentation by Daniel Sandweiss, director for the School of Policy and International Affairs and professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine. He is the incoming president of Phi Kappa Phi, the national honor society MTSU has been involved with for years.

Sandweiss’s talk is titled “Using Climate and Cultural History to Understand El Nino’s Role in Ancient Peru.”

Attorney and MTSU alumnus Lawrence Harrington (Class of 1974) will discuss “The Politics of Climate Change” on Feb. 17. Harrington is chief deputy attorney for the state of Tennessee.

The other eight lectures are being presented by MTSU faculty.

Dr. Philip Phillips

Dr. Philip Phillips

“The timeliness of this semester’s topic — climate change — is illustrated well by the graphics appearing on our poster,” said Philip Phillips, Honors College associate dean. “We have a polar bear whose natural habitat is under imminent threat, wildfires raging across most of Australia and widespread flooding in Houston (Texas) that resulted in massive displacement of people and destruction of property.”

“… Climate change is a real and serious threat to our planet,” Phillips added. “Unfortunately, it has become a political, even a religious, issue, rather than a human issue that all of us should take seriously. It is something that will fall on this generation to address. Climate change does not care if we ‘believe’ in it or not. And it is not a problem that can be solved with short-term solutions. One action that all of us can take is to vote.”

For visitors planning to attend any of the lecture series, they must obtain a $2 per day permit from the Parking and Transportation Services office at 1403 E. Main St. or print a visitor pass at

MTSU started an honors program in 1973. It was elevated to Honors College status in 1998. The college maintains its mission of providing an undergraduate education of exceptional quality and value to a small but diverse student population deeply committed to knowledge.

John Vile is the dean of the Honors College while Phillips oversees the lecture series with help from resident faculty member Mary Evins, an associate professor in history.

MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

Award-winning University of Maine archeology and climate studies researcher Daniel Sandweiss will headline the Spring 2020 Honors Lecture Series with an April 6 presentation in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. (File photo by University of Maine)

Climate Change flyer