URI Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Marine and Environmental
Graduate Teaching Fellows Program
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- September 13, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island
has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) to create a K-12 Marine and Environmental Graduate Teaching Fellows
program. The project established by the three-year grant will be a collaboration
among the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), the URI Office of Marine
Programs (OMP), and fourteen URI marine and environmental academic departments.
The $1.5 million provides a full fellowship and stipend for twelve graduate
teaching assistants per year for three years. The graduate fellows are future
scientists who will take an active role in preparing students for meaningful
careers in science, math, engineering, and technology fields. Project leaders
are GSO Associate Dean John Merrill, OMP Associate Director of Marine
and Environmental Education Gail Scowcroft, and OMP Director Sara
Under the guidance of faculty mentors, graduate fellows will be matched
with elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the school districts
of Warwick, Providence, Westerly, and Newport. The project will reach more
than 270 teachers and 13,300 students and their parents through a series
of formal and informal marine and environmental education activities.
"This national program was initiated by the Director of the National
Science Foundation, Dr. Rita Colwell, to provide opportunities for grade
school and high school students and teachers to have assistance in teaching
science from graduate students in the nation's top science programs,"
said Margaret Leinen, vice provost for Marine Programs and dean of the Graduate
School of Oceanography. "We are proud to have been selected as one
of the first universities to participate in the program. Our students and
faculty are looking forward to sharing their enthusiasm for marine and environmental
science with Rhode Island teachers and students."
"I am delighted that the NSF has funded our proposal," said
Project Director Scowcroft. "These funds will allow us to further our
mission of bringing current and topical scientific research into Rhode Island
schools. This project has some unique aspects. Not only will we prepare
graduate students in the sciences to share their scientific expertise with
a variety of audiences, but we will also be able to provide professional
development opportunities for teachers."
The ultimate goal of the project is to increase K-12 science literacy,
encourage critical thinking focusing on marine and environmental subject
areas, introduce innovative teaching methods to educators, and provide information
and tools for teaching science outside the classroom. While the project
emphasizes using marine and environmental topics to enhance traditional
student and teacher learning, teachers will also receive instruction in
using the Internet to access educational resources and evaluate them for
use in the classroom. Graduate fellows will also introduce teachers and
students to other research technologies, including GIS, remote sensing,
and scientific instruments used in the laboratory and in the field.
"I am extremely grateful for the overwhelming number of faculty
who agreed to give their time to mentoring the project's graduate teaching
fellows," said Scowcroft. "We have more than 78 oceanographers,
biologists, chemists, physicists, geologists, engineers, community planners,
and environmental scientists involved. I can't think of another university
project with such a breadth of diversity."
For More Information: Lisa Cugini, 401-874-6642