Vision Papers
Submitted Vision Papers address a group's or individual's perception of the current role of COSEE in ocean sciences education, their views on future priorities, and specific suggestions for strategic directions that are likely to prove fruitful given the foundation of current COSEE efforts. The papers received fall generally into the categories of ocean sciences research, science literacy partnerships, engaging scientists, undergraduate and pre-college education. Click on the "MORE >>" links to access full papers.

Ocean Sciences Research

COSEE in the Next Decade: The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Perspective
T. Haymet, Director, Scipps Institution of Oceanography

Research scientists have as their primary focus excellence in research and discovery. Nevertheless, it has grown increasingly obvious over the years that an essential element of the research endeavor must be communicating the important role that ocean science plays in understanding our planet, its resources, natural hazards and human contributions to global change. The future national investment in research and exploration of earth's last great frontier, the ocean, depends critically on public perception of and support for ocean science. We as a community must invest in communicating broadly the excitement, value and relevance of oceanographic research and in promoting excellence and diversity in the next generation of ocean researchers. MORE >> (Word, 41 KB)

Integrating Profiling Floats with Extended Capabilities in Future Education and Outeach Activities
C. Scheurle et al.

The Argo program is a remarkable example of international collaboration to setup a system delivering oceanographic data in real-time. Launched in 1999, one decade later, this program is now mature with more than 3000 floats operationally delivering temperature and salinity data world-ocean wide... We are thus entering an era where biological, biogeochemical as well as geophysical properties will be delivered in real-time for many oceanic areas at high temporal resolution and over the long-term. While this will obviously represent a revolutionary step in observational oceanography and geophysics, these new types of observation could also become a keystone for developing new outreach and educational activities. MORE >> (PDF, 142 KB)

Science Literacy Partnerships

Contribution from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums
P.J. Boyle, Senior VP, Conservation, Education & Professional Development

At the turn of the millennium, COSEE was conceived by forward-thinking agencies, educators, and scientists. In retrospect, COSEE has achieved considerable strides in creating a network and infrastructure through which ocean education excellence can be fostered. Also in 2000, The Ocean Project had just completed the most comprehensive survey ever conducted to assess public knowledge, attitudes, and feelings about the ocean ( That survey, and our subsequent research on attitudes about the ocean and peoples' motivations to engage in learning about the environment, tell us that we still have far to go to create an ocean-literate public. This paper provides a sketch of three systemic hurdles that must be vaulted before creating an ocean-literate public will be possible - an education space where COSEE is poised for success. MORE >> (PDF, 24 KB)

The AMS Education Program and the National COSEE Network: Sharing a Vision for Advancing Ocean Literacy
J. Brey, Director AMS Education Program

The National COSEE Network (NCN) has a transformative role in ocean science education. This partnership between scientists and those in the educational community ensures the integration of current ocean science into formal and informal learning environments. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has great respect for the demonstrated results of the NCN educational mission and has benefited from the impact of the NCN on scientists and educators in the AMS network. This vision paper presents views and suggestions on current and future COSEE priorities, including additional opportunities for expanded cooperation between COSEE and AMS. MORE >> (Word, 119 KB)

Extending COSEE's Reach: New Partnership Opportunities with Science Museums, Zoos, and Aquaria
M. Miller & D. Bartels, Exploratorium

The spirit of the COSEE network is to build effective partnerships between ocean scientists and educators and there's no doubt that the program has enjoyed great success towards that goal. Building on this strong foundation, we feel the network should now be extended to directly engage public audiences by forming deeper partnerships with the public programs staff, science communicators, and media, web and exhibit developers at museums, zoos and aquaria. Although many of the COSEE partnerships do involve Informal Science Education (ISE) institutions, the audience focus has been on scientists and educators in professional development activities, rather than ISE programs intended primarily for public audiences. MORE >> (Word, 38 KB)

Vision for the Next Decade of Ocean Science Education: Sea Grant Education Network Perspective

The goals stated in this vision paper could be reached through a well-funded national program using existing networks of diverse academic institutions, government agencies, and private sector entities. This model, already established notably by Sea Grant programs and COSEE, can provide direct connections among citizens, educators, the research community, local government, federal agencies, and industry. This network can develop activities that focus not only on local coastal issues (e.g., shoreline change, fisheries, water quality, community resilience,workforce development, natural hazards), but can include larger research agendas, such as polar research, IOOS/OOI, ocean/atmospheric connections, and climate change. Funding for funding from NSF, NOPP, and other federal agencies, coupled with funding from the private sector, will be needed to create such a broad and rich program. The need is great, the groundwork has been done, and the expertise and enthusiasm for this undertaking is there for us to employ. The time is right for us to achieve our vision. MORE >> (Word, 32 KB)

Engaging Scientists

Investing in COSEE's Ocean Scientists: Suggestions from the Sunshine State
S. Cook et al.

We want the COSEE Network to live up to its potential as a leader in innovative and transformative efforts to fully engage ocean researchers in ocean sciences education and outreach. The Network should become the 'go-to' source for ideas and information on such partnerships and effective practice both across the United States and internationally. Network activities should offer ocean scientists a highly visible platform for communicating their commitment to and passion for understanding the ocean within an Earth Systems perspective. Through appropriate support from COSEE, ocean scientists can become a nationally recognized and compelling force for quality ocean sciences education. MORE >> (Word, 46 KB)

Contribution from University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
C. Knowlton, Marine Research Associate

COSEE has the potential to help ocean scientists reach students, teachers, and the public, promoting an appreciation and understanding of the ocean, its effects on the global climate system, its influence on life around the world, and its impacts on our own national resources. This satisfies recommendations from both the 2003 Pew Oceans Commission Report, America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change, the 2004 report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, An Ocean Blueprint for the Twentieth Century, and the 2006 Conference on Ocean Literacy ( for ocean scientists and educators to improve the general public's understanding of the ocean and its role in their lives. MORE >> (Word, 36 KB)

Undergraduate Education

The National Association of Marine Laboratories' (NAML) Vision for the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) and the COSEE Network
M. Gilligan et al.

We believe that one of the most evident emerging opportunities in ocean sciences education is to engage the demographically large sector of individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in ocean science and education (e.g., African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans). A community effort led by the COSEE Network to help recruit more minority students from a wider variety of colleges and universities into programs at marine laboratories and oceanographic institutions is the vision that we offer. COSEE leadership of such an effort would provide a good conduit for linking more ocean science institutions, more marine laboratories, more minority serving institutions, and more community colleges into the rather extensive network that both NSF and NOAA supports for minority programs. MORE >> (PDF, 62 KB)

The Future of E-Tutoring in Science and Educating
D.B. Gowin, Emeritus, Cornell University

A few years ago Stanford Professor Larry Cuban published a widely-read book about poor uses of computers in the university setting. In short, university professors have been very slow to use computers in teaching undergraduates. A significant shift of university events has just happened in California. The governing body, the Board of Regents, intends for higher education to grant bachelor degrees to students via computer teaching and tutoring. They propose the use of the highest standards of academic excellence. It will not be a "cheap" degree, in their view. Future students do not need to use campus facilities. Hence, costs will be reduced significantly, depending on number of students served. MORE >> (Word, 41 KB)

The Role of Two-year Colleges in Geoscience Education and Broadening Participation in the Geosciences
H. MacDonald et al.

The science faculty at community colleges play an important role in providing ocean science education for undergraduates. The community college science curriculum serves a large number of non-science students, and a smaller number of students who enter the ocean science work force. The community colleges provide access to a diverse audience; nationally 53% of Hispanics, 45% of African Americans, 52% of Native Americans and 40% of first generation college students in higher education are enrolled at community colleges. Community college courses are taught by two categories of faculty; those who are full-time instructors and those who are adjunct and receive few of the benefits and opportunities afforded to the full-time faculty. Nationally over half of the community college faculty have adjunct status. Classes that include ocean science topics are taught in a variety of departments by faculty who may or may not be ocean scientists. Our vision for the COSEE network is that community colleges are fully integrated into all of the COSEE centers and that the community college faculty and students from all areas of the US are afforded opportunities to increase their ocean literacy. MORE >> (PDF, 18 KB)

Pre-College Education

Contribution from Lowrey Schools, Oklahoma
J. Lawrence, Science Teacher & Technical Director

Living in NE Oklahoma there is little information, training, and curriculum for ocean sciences. While participating with NOAA and URI I have learned a lot about COSEE and what it offers teachers and students alike. Being in landlocked Oklahoma COSEE has afforded many avenues in which to find ocean curriculum, programs, and ideas to use with my students in Okla. I also receive emails from COSEE on a regular basis that lets me know what is happening in ocean sciences and research throughout the US and rest of the world. COSEE has introduced me to other organization's that has allowed me be a part of and learn many aspects of ocean research. COSEE is truly an irreplaceable part of my school curriculum. MORE >> (Word, 45 KB)

Contribution from Fairhope High School, Alabama
M. O'Neill, Science Teacher & Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching

The current role of Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) of connecting educators and scientists to disseminate the latest scientific research fills an immense need in science education for students. Being able to get science research directly into classrooms to spark the interest of students is an invaluable tool. Science curriculum must be able to be current and keep up with the changing world around us to enable students to be successful in their future careers. MORE >> (Word, 42 KB)

Contribution from Soody Daisy High School, Tennessee
D. Wehunt, Science Teacher

I see the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) current role in ocean science education as two-fold. The first role is to educate and support K-12 teachers in marine science subjects. COSEE does this by 1) conducting workshops of 1 day to 1 week in length that provided professional development in marine science subjects. Teachers learn the up to date information on ocean science and are taught how to create lessons using that information. Additionally, teachers are supported by COSEE through network connections. 2) COSEE connects teachers with research scientists who are actively researching marine science subjects. This connection serves two purposes. Teachers experience how to research in reality instead of theory and scientists learn how to translate their work into lessons. MORE >> (Word, 24 KB)