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John Christy
Professor and Director
Don Behringer
Faculty member, Fisheries/Aquatic Science
Brian McCann
Associate Research Professor
Clayton Dilks
Programmer
Sharon Walker
Director of Education and Outreach
Enhanced Engagement of Scientists

Enhanced Engagement of Scientists by the COSEE Network for Broader Societal Impacts

Through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the National Science Foundation (NSF), we are pleased to announce a new grant award on behalf of the National COSEE Network (NCN), Enhanced Engagement of Scientists by the COSEE Network for Broader Societal Impacts. The NCN will build its COSEE name recognition, particularly among researchers (potential participants), by focusing on its successes with individual scientist participants. This new network-wide collaboration will promote efforts of each COSEE with scientists via exciting, robust, engaging, and interactive web case studies of researchers who have used their COSEE experience as a springboard to excellence in addressing the broader impacts of their research. The two objectives include: 1) engaging representatives of each COSEE and the CCO as a new Scientist Engagement Working Group (SEWG) to guide case study production, and 2) engaging scientist-subjects 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.

Each COSEE will designate a representative to the SEWG, to include the CCO, which will meet via regular teleconferences (approximately 60 minutes, monthly) throughout the two years of the project. The SEWG will discuss efforts that each COSEE has made in scientist engagement, considering different programs and format and its respective results in scientist education and outreach efforts. These discussions will inform decisions the SEWG makes regarding criteria for selecting scientists and content required in each case study. The SEWG will review each case study and approve the final web interface with the NCN website. Producing the engaging and highly personalized case study for each scientist will include several stages: 1) conversations between the scientist and the production team; 2) creation of web elements and the draft case study; and 3) interaction among the production team, the scientist, and the SEWG for review and revision of the case study to produce a final document to be posted on the COSEE.net website.

Dr. Jessica Kastler (COSEE-CGOM and J. L. Scott Marine Education Center, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory) will lead the efforts of the SEWG. Dr. Sharon Walker (PI, COSEE-CGOM) will maintain contact with the leadership of individual COSEEs to ensure all Centers are fully engaged in the success if the project. The production team will be led by Dr. Brian McCann (COSEE-CGOM and Mississippi State University), and include Ms. Catherine Cramer (COSEE-New England and Central Coordinating Office), Ms. Lisa Taylor (COSEE-Ocean Systems and University of Maine) and Dr. Kastler. Dr. Ari Daniel Shapiro (COSEE-Networked Ocean Systems and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) will participate on a case-by-case basis to provide audio clips to enhance case studies. The final member of the production team will change with each case study, and will be the SEWG member whose COSEE nominated the scientist subject.

This group will engage the featured scientist through a series of telephone calls to learn his or her motivations in conducting both research and education, and to understand the specifics of the scientist’s research and education programs. After the initial conversation, Dr. McCann will coordinate with other team members to produce multimedia elements (text, audio, flash animation, video) needed to create the robust, engaging case studies. After approval of revised case studies by the featured scientist and the SEWG, the case studies will be posted to COSEE.net. The production team anticipates producing six case studies in the first year and seven in the second year of the grant.

The COSEE-CGOM evaluator, Dr. Susan Ross (University of Southern Mississippi), will evaluate case studies as they become available in order to guide production of the remaining case studies. Dr. Ross will also evaluate the experience of the featured scientist; it is anticipated 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. Inverness Research, the National Network Evaluators (NNE), will complete additional assessments, including an independent review of the case studies, a summary of website usage, and interviews of selected COSEE, COSEE Council and NCN 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.

This project will advance efforts to promote a more unified NCN by making COSEE.net home to a robust, multimedia series of consistently produced case studies representing the successful efforts of individual COSEEs in engaging scientists. The new web media may also bring the NCN website to new audiences through its appeal to scientists, educators, funding agencies, managers, policymakers, and the general public. The network-wide focus on engaging scientists and building capacity will result in new insights of scientist engagement, which the SEWG will compile as a summary of lessons learned and most effective practices. Finally, this effort will also document the fact the NCN has served as an extremely active catalyst in the paradigm shift which has been and is occurring between scientists and educators (formal and informal), thereby strengthening our Decadal Review process within the NSF.

For more information contact Sharon Walker.