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Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges (2011)

Chapter: 5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building

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Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.


Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building

Education, outreach, and capacity building are so often interwoven that it is difficult to determine if a particular activity is one or the other. In this report, the committee considers education to comprise primary and secondary (K-12), undergraduate, and graduate activities in support of scientific ocean drilling; outreach includes all other non-research-related activities. However, much of what is meant by “education and outreach” is also clearly capacity building, because these activities are essential to create an ocean-literate society as well as the next generation of ocean scientists. Although each activity (education, outreach, capacity building) is discussed separately in this chapter, it should be kept in mind that there is considerable overlap among the topics.

The information included in this chapter resulted from conversations with Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) employees and scientists, a white paper drafted by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL), and internet searches. The committee was unable to find evidence of assessments or evaluations of the various education, outreach, and capacity-building programs related to ODP and IODP. These programs are of significant value, but evaluations of each of them would enable a better understanding of their impacts on different groups (e.g., K-12, undergraduate and graduate, informal) and would demonstrate the broader impacts of scientific ocean drilling.

RECOMMENDATION: Formal evaluation of education, outreach, and capacity-building activities should be implemented to demonstrate the broader impacts of scientific ocean drilling.


Using scientific ocean drilling as an education tool does not appear to have been seriously considered in the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP), although many graduate students went to sea and were involved in related research. There did not appear to be any explicit inclusion of K-12 or undergraduate educational activities despite the very significant contributions that the programs have made to understanding Earth systems (e.g., plate tectonic theory).

The committee found few instances of formal educational activities associated with ODP. During ODP, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions prepared a poster on the Cretaceous—Paleogene extinction event (Blast from the Past in 1997, in association with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History1) and CD-ROMs with associated teacher guides (From Mountains to Monsoons in 1997; From Gateways to Glaciation in 2000/20012) for use in K-12 classrooms and in outreach. From Gateways to Glaciation and Blast from the Past were distributed to 25,000 teachers and students3 (Robert Duncan, Oregon State University, personal communication, 2010). ODP also created the Sch-langer Ocean Drilling Fellowships in 1995 (discussed in further detail later in this section). However, ODP science plans, workshop reports, or reviews of scientific accomplishments make very little mention of education (see NRC, 1992; JOI, 1990, 1996, 1997, 2004; Gröschel, 2002). For instance, the ODP Long-Range Plan devotes only one paragraph to education, which is focused on undergraduate and graduate opportunities (JOI, 1996). It is certainly understandable that the scientists involved in planning ODP were focused principally on defining scientific goals for the next phase of scientific ocean drilling, rather than on integrating their


1 See

2 See

3 See

Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.

efforts with Earth science education for K-12, undergraduates, or the public.

IODP’s Initial Science Plan contained several paragraphs on education and outreach, including awareness of promotional activities to reach broader audiences (IODP, 2001), and IODP developed a more vigorous education initiative than did DSDP or ODP. Current (as of 2011) educational activities are coordinated through the COL’s Deep Earth Academy,4 which runs a variety of programs aimed at K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and informal science educators. COL staff includes a permanent director and assistant director for education, as well as a teaching fellow. Since 2004, the JOIDES Resolution has sailed 15 teachers as at-sea educators5 (Leslie Peart, COL, personal communication, 2010). Given the limited berth space for scientists aboard the vessel, allotting one specifically for an education officer is an indication of IODP’s commitment to its education initiatives. The Deep Earth Academy has also initiated a range of educational activities for students (e.g., games and activities, video clips, “ask a scientist,” careers in oceanography) and teacher resources for grades K-12 and undergraduate education that include learning objectives, national science education standards, ocean literacy principles, classroom activities, and general oceanographic knowledge. Together, these indicate a significant, positive shift in the approach to education.

Additionally, since 2009 the expanded communications facilities of the JOIDES Resolution have broadcast video teleconferences between shipboard scientists and schools and museums worldwide. More than 10,000 students, teachers and members of the public have participated (COL, 2010). The Deep Earth Academy also hosts booths at national education conferences (e.g., the National Science Teachers Association National Conference, a venue widely attended by science teachers) and national geoscience conferences (e.g., Geological Society of America, a meeting that has become increasingly popular for undergraduate educators), where staff distribute educational materials and information about opportunities to become more engaged in scientific ocean drilling.

Although all of these activities are significant additions to IODP educational programming, the School of Rock6 appears to have the greatest potential impact. This workshop, run either on the JOIDES Resolution (when drilling is not occurring) or at the Texas A&M University core repository, allows ~15 teachers each year to learn the scientific principles and techniques used to study the Earth system through core samples. Since 2005, 75 teachers have participated in the School of Rock and have taken their knowledge and understanding of scientific ocean drilling, and the research it enables, back to their schools (COL, 2010). They have also shared their experiences with others by conducting more than 150 workshops, with more than 3,000 participants from 30 states and 5 countries besides the United States (COL, 2010).

ODP and IODP have supported graduate education in scientific ocean drilling by awarding Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowships7 and providing berths for students aboard the JOIDES Resolution. The Schlanger Fellowships are competitive grants that provide a generous stipend, to be used for activities including tuition, research activities, and travel. Since 1995, five fellows per year have been selected. Of these fellows, 75 percent have remained in academia (COL, 2010), many moving into leadership positions in the scientific ocean drilling community. This prestigious award has effectively contributed to the creation of the next generation of ocean scientists and, simultaneously, has enabled significant new scientific achievements. ODP and IODP have also been very successful at bringing graduate students aboard ship to participate directly in scientific ocean drilling; 28 percent of all ODP cruise participants and 22 percent of all IODP participants on the JOIDES Resolution have been undergraduate and graduate students (Brad Clement, IODP-USIO, personal communication, 2010). The U.S. Science Support Program’s “Apply to Sail” website8 specifically mentions graduate students, and approximately one-third of the U.S. berths are reserved for graduate students or postdoctoral fellows.


In the earliest precursor to DSDP, John Steinbeck fired the public interest by chronicling the Mohole drilling project for Life Magazine (Steinbeck, 1961). However, formal outreach attempts have only recently regained significance among the scientific ocean drilling community. The Deep Earth Academy presently partners with museums and other informal science institutions to initiate special programming ranging from exhibits and interactive displays to art competitions (COL, 2010). As an example, since 2008 a model of the Chikyu, three core samples representing different climate histories, and a series of scientific ocean drilling highlights videos have been part of the permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The JOIDES Resolution also hosts a variety of outreach activities during its port calls in the United States and in other countries. Press conferences alert the local media to the presence of the ship and the nature of its activities, while ship tours allow up to 60 people per day to explore the vessel and learn more about scientific ocean drilling (COL, 2010). Speakers selected from the ship’s current expedition have also given public lectures while in port. During and after expeditions, an IODP communications team works with local, national, and international press to inform them of current research.


4 See

5 See

6 See

7 See

8 See

Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.

Another essential aspect of IODP’s outreach program is the Distinguished Lecturer Series. This program brings research results from scientific ocean drilling to undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, educators, and the broader Earth science community. Six or seven active ocean drilling scientists per year are selected as Distinguished Lecturers; each typically gives six research lectures to different institutions across the country. The host colleges and universities are selected with preference for those with high minority student populations or that have not previously hosted a Distinguished Lecturer. Since 1991, the program has provided 640 lecturers to universities, museums, and community colleges in all 50 states (Charna Meth, COL, personal communication, 2011). The series has served as a model outreach program for other IODP member countries, inspiring a similar program in Europe.


In its report titled Increasing Capacity for Stewardship of Oceans and Coasts: A Priority for the 21st Century, the National Research Council (2008) defined capacity building as programs designed to:

•  Strengthen the knowledge, abilities, relationships, and values that enable organizations, groups, and individuals to reach their goals

•  Strengthen the institutions, processes, systems, and rules that influence collective and individual behavior and performance in all related endeavors.

•  Enhance people’s ability to make informed choices and fosters their willingness to play new developmental roles and adapt to new challenges.

Although the committee did not find specifically targeted capacity-building efforts within DSDP and ODP, these programs have used approaches that supported the above definition. Each of the scientific ocean drilling programs was designed so that organizations and individuals were best able to reach their goals, requiring strong collective and individual performance. This design resulted in stronger institutions and in the development of scientific processes and systems necessary for success. As an example, the need to develop novel instrumentation and equipment was a significant challenge that the programs met well.

A current exemplar of IODP’s capacity building for a next generation of ocean drilling scientists is found in the European Consortium for Ocean Drilling Research (ECORD) summer school program9 to “further the education of young scientists in marine-related sciences and to train a new generation to participate in scientific ocean drilling expeditions in the future.” Two to three events, each hosting ~30 participants, are arranged each year around a specific scientific theme related to scientific ocean drilling. The program is open to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all around the world, and ECORD provides 10-15 scholarships every year to encourage participation of early career scientists. One example of this program is the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology,10 which is co-sponsored by a number of other international programs.

One feature of international capacity building includes developing the skills and competence of individuals and societies in developing countries. Although berthing commitments for ODP and IODP member countries preclude most such individuals from actually going to sea, modest efforts have been made to include them in the research enabled by scientific ocean drilling. There is no program in place that specifically targets support for students, staff, or faculty from developing countries, although they are able to make use of cores and other data collected by the programs, just as is the case for member countries’ researchers.

IODP has also been actively engaged in strengthening diversity initiatives. Since 2004, the scientific ocean drilling community has partnered with a National Science Foundation program, Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth Systems Science,11 which provides professional development for under-represented minorities. By 2010, IODP’s U.S. Science Support Program supported 90 minority students in 17 different scientific ocean drilling-related activities, including scientific research and opportunities to interact with IODP scientists. In 2005, IODP’s U.S. Implementing Organization (USIO) created a fellowship to encourage students at historically black colleges and universities to learn more about career opportunities related to scientific ocean drilling.12 As of June 2011, nine fellowships have been awarded and the program has been expanded to include opportunities to sail with a JOIDES Resolution expedition. In July 2011, the Minorities in Scientific Ocean Drilling Fellowship13 was initiated to embrace minority students majoring in Earth sciences and engineering beyond those represented by historically black colleges and universities. In addition, the IODP-USIO Diversity Internship14 recently began. This 10-12 week program accepts full-time and recently graduated minority students from U.S. universities and colleges who have significant interest in the ocean sciences or geosciences. The first internship focused on science communications.

Approaches to attract minority students into the above programs have included advertising via geoscience, engi-


9 See

10 See

11 See

12 See

13 See

14 See

Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.

neering, education, and communications email distribution lists, especially those that target faculty members at minority-serving institutions; professional association websites, journals, and publications; professional society and education conferences and meetings; and targeted mailings. In addition, scientists and awardees have promoted the opportunities associated with these programs and have made recruiting trips to several institutions. These approaches can significantly aid in the recruitment of minorities to the geosciences in general as well as to the drilling programs.

Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building." National Research Council. 2011. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13232.
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Through direct exploration of the subseafloor, U.S.-supported scientific ocean drilling programs have significantly contributed to a broad range of scientific accomplishments in Earth science disciplines, shaping understanding of Earth systems and enabling new fields of inquiry. Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges reviews the scientific accomplishments of U.S.-supported scientific ocean drilling over the past four decades. The book evaluates how the programs (Deep Sea Drilling Project [DSDP], 1968-1983, Ocean Drilling Program [ODP], 1984-2003, and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program [IODP], 2003-2013) have shaped understanding of Earth systems and Earth history and assessed the role of scientific ocean drilling in enabling new fields of inquiry. This book also assesses the potential for transformative discoveries for the next proposed phase of scientific ocean drilling, which is scheduled to run from 2013 to 2023.

The programs' technological innovations have played a strong role in these accomplishments. The science plan for the proposed 2013-2023 program presents a strong case for the continuation of scientific ocean drilling. Each of the plan's four themes identifies compelling challenges with potential for transformative science that could only be addressed through scientific ocean drilling, although some challenges appear to have greater potential than others. Prioritizing science plan challenges and integrating multiple objectives into single expeditions would help use resources more effectively, while encouraging technological innovations would continue to increase the potential for groundbreaking science.

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