Project Background
Since 2002 regional and thematic Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) have addressed calls for greater scientist involvement in public education and outreach. COSEE has catalyzed partnerships among individual ocean science researchers and educators from a variety of backgrounds. However, ocean scientists newly contemplating participation in education and outreach may find it difficult to fully explore such a wide range of opportunities from far-flung Centers. This website, developed through a new grant from the National Science Foundation, offers access to a focused exploration of education and outreach examples, and allows the National COSEE Network to extend its reach by focusing on its successes with individual scientist participants.

This website is a network-wide collaboration to promote the efforts of each COSEE Center in the engagement of scientists. The interactive online case studies explore the work of participants who have used their COSEE experience as a springboard to excellence in addressing the broader impacts of their research. Participating scientists are engaged to produce a personalized and rich case study that documents the scientist's work in education and outreach as an equivalent extension of his or her research contribution.

These consistently produced case studies representing the successful efforts of individual COSEEs in engaging scientists provide a unifying focus for the entire COSEE Network. This website also brings the COSEE Network to new audiences through its appeal to scientists, educators, funding agencies, managers, policymakers, and the general public. Finally, the network-wide focus on engaging scientists and building capacity results in new insights of scientist engagement, which will be compiled as a summary of lessons learned and most effective practices.

Representatives of each COSEE collaborate on the Scientist Engagement Working Group to guide case study production. Producing the case studies involves several stages: 1) conversations between the scientist and the production team; 2) creation of web elements and the draft case study; 3) interaction between the production team, the scientist, and the working group for review and revision; and 4) posting to the website. The production team will produce a minimum of thirteen case studies over a two-year period.

Case studies are evaluated as they become available to guide production of those remaining. The experience of the featured scientist is also evaluated, as it is likely that the process of producing the case study will facilitate development of new insights by scientists regarding education, outreach, and subsequent effects of their COSEE experience on professional advancement. Additional assessments will also be made, including an independent review of the case studies; a summary of website usage; and interviews of selected COSEE, COSEE Council and Network leaders regarding the value of the case studies in promoting broader societal involvement by scientists. Results will be summarized in a short report concerning the value and utility of the case studies.