Educating the next generation of environmental leaders is one of the many ways Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps bridge the gap between science and policy. During Duke's 2017-2018 academic year, staff members are aiding in this mission by teaching courses across campus. For more information on these courses, visit

Fall 2017


U.N. Climate Change Negotiation Practicum
The U.N. Climate Change Negotiation Practicum is a one-credit independent study that examines the negotiation of international climate change agreements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the UNFCCC has been the primary forum for the negotiation of international agreements concerning climate change. After the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, the UNFCCC has a new framework through which to address climate change at the international level. This unique course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental issues, negotiation process, and political dynamics of the UNFCCC, as well as provide students an opportunity to attend the negotiations while working for a client organization. (ENVIRON 593.65)

Instructors: Billy Pizer, faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and Jonathan Wiener, professor, Duke School of Law.

Energy Law
(Energy Law 327.01) The course will examine the legal framework governing energy production and consumption in the United States, and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with other societal goals. The course will include three main modules: (1) electricity sector regulation; (2) energy resources for electricity generation; and (3) oil and gas law. Key themes will include:
(1) The historic origins of public utility regulation;
(2) The major U.S. laws that govern energy production and use;
(3) The distinct roles of the federal and state governments; and
(4) Efforts to manage competing societal interests.

Instructor: Amy Pickle, director of the State Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Theories of Social Change
In working to create social change, groups use a variety of approaches: providing direct services; advisory, legal and educational services; policy analysis; institution building and economic development assistance. Creating social change may also include ensuring that business sectors consider social issues. Multiple disciplines can help explain their strategies and tactics. This course focuses on theories, issues, and debates related to promoting human rights and social justice in working for social change and is a forum for students participating in the Pathways of Change summer internship to reflect on and integrate their experiences. Class topics will apply the course materials specifically to the Pathways program areas: business and human rights, environmental justice, and women's rights. (Ethics 211S)

Instructor: Kay Jowers, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


Law & Society
A sociological analysis of comparative legal systems, the role of law in social change and in shaping social behavior. Topics may include the legal profession, property distribution, and the role of law in achieving racial and sexual justice. (SOCI 424)

Instructor: Kay Jowers, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.