Scott Glenn ~ Ocean Observer


The success of RU COOL has resulted in the development of what amounts to an on-campus field lab, complete with observatory, living and learning center, practice pond, and access to the ocean on a research vessel. These components work together to provide a total experience.

Oceanography House is a planned living and learning center for incoming freshmen who are interested in the ocean. Starting in 2011 a dorm floor will be available for both oceanography majors and students interested in oceanography but majoring in another discipline. "Engineers, writers, environmental scientists, physicists – if they have an interest in oceanography they can live there, learn from each other and be part of this growing community," says Scott. Included is a room with electronic infrastructure that connects directly to the COOL room, perfect for working with a glider fleet that is calling for directions 24 hours a day. Oceanography House supports the collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach that Scott uses in his approach to the COOL room. "Scott is viewing oceanography in the widest possible sense, as an object of study which we bring all of the disciplines to bear on," says Dr. Rick Ludescher, Cook Campus Dean. Read the Oceanography House blog.

"The on-campus operations center draws students from a variety of majors, and the excitement of the hands-on projects keeps them coming back semester after semester."
The Raritan River is a ten-minute walk away, providing a direct connection to the ocean. Recent dredging has meant that students can now travel down the river to the Atlantic in a 3-hour-round trip, making the ocean a daily part of the academic experience. All of Scott's classes go out on the river; it’s a cornerstone piece of many of his programs. Students learn to work collaboratively in the COOL room, test the instruments in the pond, then bring their skills out on a cruise. "This is our at-sea observatory," says Scott. "Having this access point has changed how we do our education." As an added bonus, data gathered on the Raritan is also used by the local community and government.

RU COOL students
The decision in 2001 to move the COOL room to campus is having enormous impact, making oceanographic research a daily activity for undergraduates and part of the entire undergraduate curriculum. Future plans include mooring the Rutgers research vessel R/V Caleta on the Raritan, for inter-departmental use. "Scott has built a humanistic laboratory for understanding human interactions with the environment," says Dean Ludescher. "Both sciences and humanities can incorporate the river into their curriculum. And I would not be having these ideas without working with Scott, who sees the potential."

Lipman House is a learning center used to teach the Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) class. It's in the middle of campus, surrounded by science labs, with a test pond outside the front door where students test sensors, CTDs and other tools used in the COOL room, then come back inside and analyze the data.

Rick Ludescher Scott Glenn
Scott Glenn