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College of Arts and Sciences

Theme Semester

Fall 2021 – Climates 

Climate, with an S. Because the word has multiple meanings that affect each of us every day, down to the air we breathe. 

  • We face the effects of climate change and try to remedy its causes with cutting-edge climate science. 
  • The political climate divides or unites nations, while the social climate affects the way we connect with each other. 
  • And yet climate still retains its original meaning, referring to regions of the earth. 

We invite you to study Climates with us from diverse perspectives throughout the College of Arts and Sciences during the Fall 2021 semester. 

Richard Alley giving presentation

Keynote Speaker 

Richard Alley, a noted geologist and host of the PBS documentary Earth: The Operator’s Manual, will present the keynote address for Theme Semester 2021. 
As a professor of geoscience at Penn State, Dr. Alley is widely credited with showing that Earth has experienced abrupt climate change in the past—and likely will again, based on his meticulous study of ice cores from Greenland and West Antarctica. In recent years, he has served as one of the authors on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose members shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. He believes that climate change does not have to be a partisan issue ― that we can deal with climate change without raising the temperature in the political climate. 
Further details, including the date and time of his keynote address, will be announced in the summer of 2021. 

Preofessor showing a map in a class

New Courses 

Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences will offer several new courses that examine climates from the perspectives of different disciplines. 
Theme Semester will also include courses throughout the University of South Carolina that connect to Climates in some way. 
A full list of Theme Semester courses will be released in March. 

Groups gathered in a lobby from above


Theme Semester will include a number of events related to the “Climates” theme. Watch for an announcement in May. 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.