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OS451-01 The CORE OSER Dataset: A Community Resource for Assessing Patterns in Ocean Sciences Graduate Education. CORE Member Institutions with Graduate Ocean Science Programs. JOI/CORE Institutions Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Oregon State University Texas A&M University

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OS451-01 The CORE OSER Dataset: A Community Resource for Assessing Patterns in Ocean Sciences Graduate Education

CORE Member Institutions

with Graduate

Ocean Science Programs

JOI/CORE Institutions

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Oregon State University Texas A&M University

University of California San Diego University of Hawaii University of Miami/RSMAS

University of Rhode Island University of Washington

S. B. Cook, Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education,; J. Farrington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,; R. E. McDuff, University of Washington,




OSER Workshops and the CORE Dataset: Past and Present

In 1980, the education “Deans” from the JOI schools began to meet annually to assess graduate education in ocean sciences (with ocean engineering added later). Mr. A. L. “Jake” Peirson (Associate Dean of WHOI - now retired) originally suggested the idea to Dean Charles D. Hollister of WHOI and Professor Arthur R. M. Nowell, then Director of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. Initially, the schools funded participant travel and in the mid 1980s JOI and ONR provided funding (Nowell and Hollister, 1988). Sustained leadership for the effort through the 1980s by Nowell and Hollister led to the assessments we have today.

After CORE was established in 1994, participation expanded to include deans, associate deans, department chairs and program managers from additional graduate programs. Consortium membership now stands at 85 with 3? members granting graduate degrees in some aspect of ocean science. CORE sponsored workshops are now held every other year in the fall at a CORE member institution and are referred to as Ocean Science Education Retreats (OSER). Nine to ten months prior to each workshop, CORE staff distribute Graduate Program Surveys, Faculty Workforce Surveys and Funding and Facilities Surveys to the CORE membership. Dr. Arthur Nowell has continued to play a leadership role in data analysis and community discussion of trends and patterns (see for OSER03 data). In 2005, Dr. Russell Mc Duff reviewed survey data from academic years 2003 and 2004 and summarized patterns and trends for OSER05 participants.

Graduate Programs in 2003-2004

Graduate Programs at CORE institutions are part of a rich and complex tapestry. In 2003-2004, programs ranged in size from very small (n=8) to large (n=200). Between 1996 and 2004, applications to 8 programs increased with the number of interested students doubling while 9 programs were less sought-after with some showing an almost two-fold drop in interest. In 2003, 87% of the student population was supported by institutional or government sources.

CORE Graduate Institutions

College of Charleston

College of William and Mary/VIMS

East Carolina University

Florida Atlantic University

Florida State University

Louisiana State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology/WHOI

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Naval Postgraduate School

North Carolina State University

Nova Southeastern University

Old Dominion University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

Stony Brook University

The University of Southern Mississippi

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

University of California Santa Barbara

University of California Santa Cruz

University of Connecticut

University of Delaware

University of Maine

University of Maryland

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Wilmington

University of South Carolina

University of South Florida

University of Southern California

OSER 05, October 27-28 at Woods Hole, Ma.

45 participants from 21 CORE Institutions. Hosted by CORE and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Steering Committee members: Dr. John Farrington (MIT/WHOI) Dr. Arthur Nowell (U. Washington), Dr. Peter Betzer (University of South Florida), Dr. Gary Griggs (U. California @ Santa Cruz, and Dr. Nancy Targett (University of Delaware). CORE staff: CORE Education Director Dr. Sue Cook, CORE President Richard West and staff members Susan Haynes and Henry Hope.

In 2003, males made up 50.5 % of the ocean science student body at CORE institutions (Table 2). Gender ratios were approximately equal in chemical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics and coastal and estuarine science. Women were somewhat better represented in marine biology/biological oceanography and marine affairs. Men predominated in ocean engineering, physical oceanography, the ‘other’ category and to a lesser extent Fisheries and Aquatic Science.


Keynote Address: Ocean Sciences Graduate Education: Status and Trends, Dr. Russ McDuff, U. Washington.

Mentoring Physical Oceanography Women to Increase Retention (MPOWIR), Drs. Amy Bower and Robert Beardsley, MIT/WHOI

Group Discussions: Recruitment Strategies, Dr. P. Betzer; Financial support, Dr. G. Griggs; Retention and career services, Dr. J. Farrington

Funding Opportunities for Research on Ocean Science Graduate Education, Dr. N. Targett

Panel 1: Insights and Recommendations on Diversity

Panel 2: Graduate Student Opportunities to Contribute to K12 Education

USCOP Recommendations 8-7 and 8-10, What can the Community Do Now? Dr. G. Griggs

Discussion of Gaps in Knowledge, Funding sources for gap analysis and Next Steps for the Community, Drs. Griggs and Farrington

GK12 Panel Take Home Message:Involving graduate students in the K12 classroom benefits students in multiple ways from self-organization and priority setting to effective and clear communication of the value of their science.

Ms. Teresa Greely (USF), Ms. Shay Saleem (USF), Ms. Desiree Plata (MIT/WHOI), Ms.Liz Tyner (USF), Dr. Robert Chen (U. Mass.Boston), Ms. Julie Callahan (UMB) , Discussion Lead, Dr. P. Betzer (USF)


The Ocean Sciences community is already responding to the U.S Oceans Commissions and the Pew Ocean Commission reports with respect to all levels of education. As examples, the involvement of graduate students in K-12 activities has been launched and the sharing of best practices is in progress for these activities and for increasing diversity in ocean sciences. Attention to evaluation of success of programs is important and is being incorporated into more programs.

“(The program…) challenged my own way of learning…” “I enjoyed helping students understand and discover the world around them…”

-(Quotes from GK12 Fellows)

Diversity Panel

At OSER05, a five member panel provided a candid, personal look at the realities of recruiting and retaining individuals from underrepresented groups.

Applications (the supply side of the graduate school equation) are cyclic. In the 1980s, data collected by JOI show a decline in applications to member institutions with numbers peaking in the mid 1990s and dropping again in 1998-2000. Since CORE has been surveying its members, application numbers were highest in 1996 and 1997 with a drop in 1998-2000 and a rebound in 2001-2004. When data from a subset of 17 schools are compared, the same ‘up-down-up’ pattern occurs: 2247 in 1996, a minimum of 1780 in 2000 and a rise to 2073 in 2003. In 2003 and 2004, cohort selectivity (from applications to offers to acceptances) was similar between biological, chemical, physical and geological subdisciplines.

Dr. Ambrose Jearld, NOAA; Dr. Brandon Jones, US EPA; Dr. Letise Houser, U. Delaware, Ms. Camille Daniels (USF), Ms. Regina Campbell Malone (MIT/WHOI Joint Program)

  • Sharing of OSER05 proceedings and energy with the community via CORE website
  • Need an inventory of current graduate and undergraduate education curriculum and practices and evaluations to share best practices and to assess ocean sciences graduate and undergraduate education needs for the future.
  • Focus on new challenges in education– how to adapt to an interdisciplinary world where students will follow multiple career pathways; draw on best in educational practice.
  • Increase attendance at next OSER by talking up value and linking workshop to a Board Meeting.
  • Continue the demographic data and graduate program and postdoc related data in two year increments to  provide a much needed basis for assessing trends that need attention.

“Cultural competency is key. Different approaches are needed. There must be personal contact - websites and letters don’t always work. Career fairs and visits to HBCUs do work”.

-(B. Jones, EPA)

“Our scientist has opened up my eyes to more of the real world and scientific studies …It was unfathomable how much fun it was learning like this”

-(GK-12 Participant, 2005)

The most recent CORE survey data show that the graduate student pool in the ocean sciences is still dominated by Caucasians. In 2003, of the 79% US citizens in residence, 90% were white, 2.9% were Asian American, 1.5% were African American, 3.2% were Hispanic, 0.4% were Native American and 2.3% classified themselves as other.


Farrington, J. W., 2001. Oceanography, Volume 14: 34-39.

Nowell, A.R.M. and C.D. Hollister, 1988. EOS 69: 834-835; 840-843.

USCOP, 2004. Final Report. Chapter 8, pages ; Appendix IV.

Third grade after school enrichment in science class from Maynard Academy in Cambridge, MA brought to WHOI for a tour and a visit to a nearby beach by MIT/WHOI Joint Program Graduate Students Desiree Plata and Ari Shapiro - enrichment class volunteer instructors.