A part of the SERC Teacher Professional Development Program Collection

Page prepared for SERC by Heather Rissler in consultation with Cheryl Peach, UCSD. Girl on Beach, from California COSEE

COSEE Professional Development Networks

Program URL: http://www.coseeca.net/
Program Type:

Education and Outreach Network

Program Size:
Regional Ocean Education Network

Cheryl Peach, Ph.D.

Academic Coordinator

Birch Aquarium at SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography

Program Summary

The Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) consists of a series of regional partnerships amongst scientists and educators. The central coordinating office of COSEE is run out of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research (CORE). The California COSEE network represents one of the 10 regional COSEE networks. Each regional network is a partnership amongst a research institution, an informal science education institution, and a formal science education institution. By using a network approach, COSEE brings ocean science education to a broad audience and elicits participation from research scientists in outreach and education efforts.

What was the impetus for the program?

The California COSEE (CA-COSEE) network formed with the goal of promoting ocean science literacy and implements the following strategies:

  • "Facilitating relationships that connect scientists with education outreach organizations"
  • "Disseminating a model course, Communicating Ocean Science, for undergraduate and graduate students"
  • "Creating a groundbreaking interactive Ocean Science and Technical Careers web site"
  • "Developing model K-12 Ocean Education sites for infusing ocean science into pre-college classrooms"

How is the program structured?

The California COSEE network is formed by:

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, the research institution partner of CA-COSEE, are focused on engaging the research community in education and outreach that elevates public awareness of oceans and the importance of oceans to their lives. This is achieved by catalyzing interactions between the research and science education communities.

CA-COSEE works to understand the needs of science education community and how these needs can be met by collaborations with research scientists. This type of collaboration also enables scientists to satisfy the broader impact components of their research funding. The PI's of CA-COSEE serve as liaisons to facilitate partnerships between scientists and educators. The collaborative experiences are organized such that the needs of both partners can be met and support is offered to ensure that collaborations are successful.

Who is involved?

Many research scientists at Scripps participate in some type of outreach efforts in the community and participate in partnerships with educators. Researchers also utilize the assistance of the CA-COSEE network in developing their broader impact statements when submitting proposals for funding.

CA-COSEE offers professional development programs for K-12 teachers. One example is the Marine Activities Resources in Education (MARE), a long term professional development program for elementary and middle school teachers, offered at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC-Berkeley. The MARE program supports schools in embracing the Ocean as a theme of study for sciences, literacy, and the arts.

How is the program evaluated?

COSEE regional networks and the central coordinating office are evaluated. The CA-COSEE evaluates the engagement of scientists in outreach through surveys that assess attitudes towards education and outreach, their needs with respect to support, and their participation in education and outreach. Activities and partnerships that are facilitated are also evaluated and tracked to evaluate their efficacy. Once robust partnerships are initiated, they often flourish on their own.

How is the program maintained and funded?

COSEE is funded through NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (Geosciences Directorate). Other partners within CA-COSEE the network are funded through NOAA and the Office of Naval Research.

Hints for starting a program like this:

  • Taking the time to understand the needs of the diverse partners in the networks (research scientists, faculty, K-12 teachers, and informal science educators) is critical for establishing good partnerships
  • Setting up partnerships between researchers and educators can require a shifts in thinking about education and outreach, especially when working with partners with diverse needs, and are time-intensive to develop
  • Setting up an evaluation system that tracks the secondary and tertiary impacts of the partnerships is challenging

References and Notes:

  • 'EPO Brokers: Why the Good Ones are Worth Their Weight in Gold': Abstract from a poster presented by Franks et al. at the 2006 AGU Ocean Science meeting.