Collaborative Research: The National Central Coordinating Office - 10.01.2008

This award provides funding for management and support of national networking activities for the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE). There are eleven separate Centers within the U.S. that are coordinated via the Central Coordinating Office (CCO). The CCO will be organized by three PI's; Gail Scowcroft, Associate Director, Office of Marine Programs, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography will act as the National Network Coordinator (NNC); Annette deCharon, University of Maine, will organize the development of a national website and support more centralized web development at all Centers; and Dr. Billy Spitzer, New England Aquarium, will help with long-term strategy development and organization of the National Advisory Committee (NAC). This project builds on their prior work as the National Interim Leadership Team, a group that was formed to serve the COSEE Network during a one-year funding hiatus for the existing CCO.

The proposed CCO team will work closely with the National COSEE Council, the NAC, and the NSF Program Officers to address a national gap in the coordination of ocean science education, facilitate communication between the Centers, and improve overall network functioning. The CCO will move the Network forward on a number of key initiatives that strengthen it, reduce duplication, and enhance the overall impact of COSEE. One important role of the CCO is the facilitation of the transfer of best practices between Centers. Site visits will allow the CCO team to investigate activities and products from Centers that might further other Centers' goals. By facilitating such transfers, the CCO provides a unique and useful addition to the current network.

Perhaps one of the most significant tasks of the CCO in achieving intellectual merit is to increase the number of ocean scientists who participate in ocean science education and outreach. The CCO plans to annually expand the number of ocean scientist/educator partnerships formed through COSEE activities. Documentation is key to sharing "lessons learned"; thus CCO deliverables include "user friendly", accessible national evaluation database and a national website. The Broader Impacts of this proposal include developing materials and providing support for ocean science educational outreach to the public and to K-12 teachers and students. The CCO will also strive to broaden the participation of under-represented and under-served (U/U) students in the various activities supported by the COSEE network by developing partnerships with U/U groups and professional societies.

Source: NSF Award Abstract #0827983

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