Strategic Plan 2001–2006
UCAR, NCAR, and UOP
2.0 Mission, Vision, and Values
3.0 Goals, and Objectives
4.0 Priorities for Implementing the Plan
In July of 2000,
UCAR initiated a strategic planning process to develop a unified
education and outreach plan for the institution as a whole,
spanning the interests of UCAR, NCAR, and UOP. A planning committee
was established, chaired by Roberta Johnson, the new director
of the Office of Education and Outreach (E&O). In developing
the committee's membership (see Table 1), we strove to recruit
representatives from programs that currently play a significant
role in education and outreach in the institution. Committee
members brought knowledge to the table about sponsored programs,
such as the Advanced Study Program (ASP), the Cooperative Program
for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET),
the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE), the
Laboratory Experience in Atmospheric Research at NCAR (LEARN)
program, and the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research
and Science (SOARS) program, as well as the indirectly funded
programs of the Office of Development and Government Affairs
and UCAR Communications. Together, these individuals provided
expert perspectives on program development, content, and public
outreach for the institution as a whole. A series of strategic
planning meetings was initiated in order to develop a mission,
vision, and set of values for the institution’s integrated education
and outreach effort, as well as to set specific goals and objectives
by which the mission, vision, and values will be realized. This
strategic plan is the product of the committee's deliberations.
Table 1. Education and Outreach
Strategic Planning Committee
Richard Anthes (President's Office)
William (Al) Cooper (ASP)
Stephen Dickson (Director's Office)
Susan Foster (E&O)
Robert Harriss (ESIG)
Elisabeth Holland (ACD)
Karon Kelly (DLESE)
Timothy Killeen (Director's Office)
Roberta Johnson (E&O), chair
Joseph Lamos (COMET)
Margaret LeMone (MMM)
Mary Marlino (DLESE)
Cynthia Schmidt (Government Affairs)
Kathryn Schmoll (F&A)
Timothy Spangler (COMET)
Lucy Warner (Communications)
Morris Weisman (MMM)
Thomas Windham (SOARS)
The plan has evolved in response to the recommendations and
comments received from numerous reviewers, including members
of UCAR's Board of Trustees and University Relations Committee,
staff of the National Science Foundation, and several UCAR Member
Representatives, American Meteorological Society (AMS) Heads
and Chairs, and educators and scientists participating in NCAR's
January 2001 Workshop on Earth System Education Partnerships
with Research Institutions (see Appendix). All of these individuals
have helped to strengthen the plan's potential to reach the
institution's many constituencies.
Representatives from the UCAR community and experts in science
education and outreach from within and beyond the community
will be appointed to an advisory board to provide recommendations
for plan implementation. A liaison from the UCAR Board of Trustees
will also be identified.
Over several decades, education and outreach programs have
been developed by dedicated staff within UCAR, NCAR, and UOP
(the institution, or UCAR) to disseminate information about
the atmospheric and related sciences to students in K-12, undergraduate,
and graduate schools, to postdoctoral students, and to the general
public. Educational tours and exhibits are the hallmark of public
outreach at the Mesa Laboratory, reaching tens of thousands
of people every year and receiving the institution's baseline
support on an ongoing basis. Programs with unique missions and
audiences, such as ASP, COMET, DLESE, LEARN, and SOARS, have
also significantly contributed to educational resources, training
opportunities, and tools available to support the academic community
from the middle school level through professional training.
When sponsored by direct support from funding agencies, these
kinds of programs are periodically challenged to find a way
to sustain themselves and ensure public access to their products
once the initial funding vehicle has expired. Another challenge:
As UCAR's numerous education and outreach activities have evolved,
largely in separate divisions and programs, it has been unclear
how they collectively support the larger-scale educational mission
of the institution.
Recently, the role of academic institutions and national centers
in education and outreach has become increasingly important.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) now dedicates extensive
financial resources to the development, implementation, evaluation,
and dissemination of educational resources that enrich students'
understanding of the sciences and enhance the scientific literacy
of the nation. NSF also recognizes that education and outreach
programs are better able to reach all Americans when these programs
embed strategies specifically designed to include persons and
communities that historically have been underrepresented in
science, engineering, and mathematics.
A nearly uniform voice has simultaneously emerged from the
educational community to reinforce this message. In discussions
with and surveys of colleagues in UCAR's member and affiliate
institutions, UCAR has been asked to consider mechanisms by
which the institution can support the educational missions of
the universities, both for current students and in the recruitment
of new students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Participants
in a recent workshop at NCAR on Earth System Education Partnerships
with Research Institutions specified priorities for action,
- the importance of support by research institutions for education
- the need to facilitate the participation of scientists in
education and policy
- the need for a full-spectrum approach to enhancing informal
and formal science education and public science literacy,
from K-12 through postgraduate training.
- the need to engage experts and professional partners in
program development and research about learning, and
- the importance of building integrated, interdisciplinary
approaches to science education and outreach.
Therefore, it has become increasingly clear that an institution
of UCAR's magnitude must have a coordinated education and outreach
program that can serve UCAR members, the institution's professional
staff, and the public. The scope of our education and outreach
program addresses the needs of K-12 through postgraduate learners
as well as formal and informal science education in a diverse
nation. We accept this broad scope because of the severity of
the problem the United States faces in engaging diverse students
to prepare for future careers in the atmospheric and related
sciences. It is likewise vital to increase the science literacy
of all citizens so they can understand the implications of our
community's research for their lives and future.
These problems are national in scope. A publicly funded institution
such as ours, with a national mandate and mission in research,
education, and service should contribute to solutions in ways
appropriate for a national center. Through balanced efforts
across these areas, UCAR will be able to contribute significantly
to enhanced public literacy in our scientific field, while simultaneously
working to increase the number and diversity of students selecting
careers in atmospheric and related sciences. One of the primary
motivations for increasing education and outreach activities
is to enhance the communication of the many research accomplishments
of NCAR and UOP to the broader professional and educational
communities and the public. Our focus will be on those efforts
that leverage our unique expertise in research, technology,
and educational programming. Our activities should enhance the
integration of scientific research and education and should
support the UCAR community. In all of our programs, increasing
the diversity of people participating in the atmospheric and
related sciences is a high priority.
Mission, Vision, and Values
The planning committee defined a set of guiding principles
for education and outreach (Table 2). The mission describes
the overarching goal of the E&O program. In our vision statement,
we describe the impact our program will have. The values statement
presents the beliefs we hold as the foundation of our efforts
in the implementation of this strategic plan.
Table 2. Mission, Vision, and Values
for the Education and Outreach Program
In partnership with the university community, UCAR promotes
scientific literacy and advances all levels of education
and training in subjects related to Earth's atmosphere.
A successful education and outreach program at UCAR contributes
significantly to creating an informed global community
that lives responsibly with the atmosphere and the environment.
UCAR, NCAR, and UOP effectively support expert communities
of diverse scientific professionals who monitor weather
and climate processes, enhance and integrate our understanding
of them, and assess their impacts on society. Coordinated
and expanded informal and formal education and outreach
programs help to build a community of learners inspired
to set off on a path of lifelong scientific learning.
Our education and outreach activities demonstrate our
commitment to excellence, scientific accuracy, intellectual
freedom, and objectivity. We are responsive to the educational
needs of our broad university constituency and collaborate
closely with that community to meet these needs. We respect
the intellectual contributions of all partners in our
endeavors and safeguard the rights of our partners in
our collaborative projects. We are committed to universal
access to knowledge through age-appropriate programs.
We focus our activities on integrative learning across
disciplines, with an emphasis on open, shared learning
environments that are inquiry-based. Our activities promote
creativity and innovation as they are developed and as
they are disseminated to their users. Through all of our
programs, we demonstrate respect for cultural and gender
diversity, as well as for diversity of learning styles.
Through our programs implemented with these values, we
provide leadership within the scientific and educational
Goals, and Objectives
After defining the mission, vision, and values for our education
and outreach program, the strategic planning committee identified
four goals that describe the program's essential elements (Table
3). Specific objectives will guide us in achieving these goals.
Goal 3.1: Create the institutional
infrastructure and funding portfolio that will allow UCAR
to have an effective education and outreach program.
UCAR will create a new Office of Education and Outreach that
must be established on a strong institutional infrastructure
and funding portfolio. The purpose of this office will be to
build a bridge between scientific research and education and
translate the institution's scientific accomplishments into
effective education and outreach programs. The committee has
identified seven objectives that will enable E&O to achieve
Table 3 Education and Outreach Goals
1. Institutionalize the UCAR Education and Outreach
Create the institutional infrastructure and funding
portfolio that will allow UCAR to have an effective
education and outreach program.
2. Support Students and Professionals: From Pre-K
through Post Graduate Levels
Develop, deliver, and promote education resources for
diverse audiences that enhance scientific literacy.
3. Foster an Informed Public through Science Literacy.
Develop and support inspiring programs about the atmospheric
and related sciences that allow citizens to make informed
4. Build Diversity in the Geosciences.
Promote the involvement of diverse and historically
underrepresented populations in the geosciences.
Objective 3.1.1: Optimize organizational structure
UCAR's Office of Education and Outreach will integrate staff
from the Education and Tours Program, Informal Science Education,
Exhibits, LEARN, the NCAR Science Store, SOARS, and Windows
to the Universe. E&O will also seek ways to optimize its organizational
structure by identifying and facilitating communication with
all other education and outreach resources and programs currently
dispersed within UCAR, NCAR, and UOP divisions and programs.
E&O will organize a portfolio of baseline services to support
education and outreach activities across all of these entities
as well as relevant programs in UCAR member and affiliate institutions.
Opportunities will be explored to build diverse teams of people
and programs both within and outside of E&O when there is mutual
benefit to close association.
Several major education and outreach programs existing within
NCAR and UOP (ASP, COMET, and DLESE) are well established, independently
funded, and well known. There are no plans to locate these programs
within E&O in the future. We will work with these programs to
develop collaboration consonant with the goals and objectives
described in this strategic plan.
Sharing administrative services and assets between E&O and
external programs will be encouraged when it can bring improved
economies of scale. When appropriate, E&O will facilitate collaboration
among programs that have a mutual stake in audiences, scientific
topics, funding opportunities, and other areas. In the interest
of furthering the institution's education and outreach mission
and sustaining successful programs, E&O will develop a process
for prioritizing the use of limited and essential human and
Managers of UCAR, NCAR, and UOP should identify the education
and outreach programs with which they have close affiliation.
E&O will develop mechanisms for representing, tracking, highlighting,
supporting, and reporting on elements of these education and
outreach programs to the public and other interested constituencies.
Objective 3.1.2: Disseminate education
and outreach activities to professional groups.
Scientists and educators at UCAR, NCAR, and UOP are
frequent participants in professional meetings and workshops
that promote science education and outreach. Those currently
attended by E&O staff members include annual meetings of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),
American Astronomical Society (AAS), American Geophysical Union
(AGU), American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES),
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the Society
for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
(SACNAS). Information about education and outreach programs
is disseminated in these venues from exhibit booths, by the
presentation of papers and posters, and by word of mouth. Even
so, larger and more diverse audiences can be reached by expanding
this outreach to new professional groups and organizations serving
populations of special interest, especially populations underrepresented
in the atmospheric and related sciences. We will strategically
evaluate the range of professional meetings that can optimize
our outreach efforts and assess our commitment to support staff,
exhibits, publications, and programs in these settings.
Objective 3.1.3: Develop local, national, and international
UCAR's extensive community of members and affiliates and
the collaborative programs within the institution provide a
rich network through which partnerships can be forged to enhance
science education, science literacy, and diversity programs.
UCAR's Office of Education and Outreach will build upon existing
partnerships with external organizations with the goal of strengthening
them. E&O will also extend collaborations to selected additional
organizations committed to science education. Examples of groups
of interest include, but are not limited to, AAAS, AAS, AGU,
AISES, AMS, the Association of Mexican American Engineers and
Scientists (MAES), the Association of Science and Technology
Centers, land-grant university cooperative extension programs,
NSTA, the NASA Office of Space Science Minority Initiative,
the NASA Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, SACNAS,
the Society of Black Engineers, and the World Meteorological
Organization. Partnerships with organizations such as these
have excellent potential for building training networks for
professionals, for students from K-12 through graduate school,
for teachers working in rural and urban environments, and for
populations underrepresented in the atmospheric and related
Collaboration with science centers and museums can provide
outlets to diverse audiences for program content and products.
Reciprocally, new Mesa Lab exhibits may be inspired as a result
of close associations with museums; once unveiled, the exhibits
may be hosted in the galleries of partnering institutions. E&O
will also partner with UCAR Communications to enhance contacts
with and messages to the media.
A largely unexplored frontier for building partnerships lies
in the vast commercial education, science, and technology sectors.
In order to prosper, our education and outreach efforts will
need to find common interests with corporations and foundations
demonstrating commitment to the societal benefits of atmospheric
and earth-system research and education. There are also opportunities
for partnerships in communities that have been historically
denied access to science, mathematics, engineering, and technology
education and employment opportunities. In order to successfully
reach our diversity goal, we will need to identify and effectively
communicate common interests with these communities.
Objective 3.1.4: Create a database of education and outreach
contacts and programs
Collaboration, partnership, education, and outreach efforts
will require efficient access to information about a large number
of individuals, agencies, and organizations. E&O will build
and expand upon the institution's current local, regional, national,
and international connections with institutions, industry, and
information media that focus on scientific research, education,
and outreach in order to establish a central database. The database
will provide the institution and the UCAR community with a means
for locating and working with others. It will serve as a tool
for broadcasting information about our programs and products
to target audiences. The database will also be valuable in building
the collaboration necessary for developing grant proposals.
Objective 3.1.5: Provide E&O project development services
to UCAR, NCAR, UOP, and the UCAR community.
An increasing number of funding opportunities (from NSF,
NASA, and other agencies) require or recommend education and
outreach components, either integrated within the body of scientific
research proposals or added as a supplement to them. In many
cases, the funds available for these education and outreach
components are not large, yet considerable work can be entailed
in defining a plan, especially for a principal investigator
(PI) who may not be familiar with education and outreach issues
E&O will develop a suite of project descriptions that support
UCAR's education and outreach efforts, such as professional
development for K-12 educators, content module development,
and Web outreach. Examples of supplementary budgets and other
commonly required proposal materials will also be available.
E&O will offer consultations with PIs within the institution
and with faculty at UCAR member and affiliate institutions to
help develop education and outreach plans based on this suite
of possibilities. The program descriptions thus developed can
then be tailored to specific scientific proposals, providing
leverage to obtain support for ongoing education and outreach
programs while simultaneously meeting the needs of scientists.
In this way, E&O will help the institution respond to sponsor
requirements in a cost-effective, highly leveraged way. E&O
will also submit proposals directly through its administrative
structure for PIs interested in educational initiatives.
Objective 3.1.6: Reward scientists who support education
Many UCAR, NCAR, and UOP staff members have shown commitment
to scientific education and outreach through their participation
in activities and programs. Such participation is specifically
mentioned in the qualifications for scientists to advance to
higher levels on the scientific ladder. Nevertheless, participation
in education and outreach activities by scientists has, at times,
been discouraged within the organization. E&O will work with
the institution's management and staff to develop an environment
that fosters bridging between science and education. To succeed,
a system will need to be developed and formalized that recognizes
and rewards scientists who dedicate a portion of their time
to education and outreach activities. Achievements in education
and outreach must become a sanctioned part of the annual merit
review and promotion process for scientists. To offset the financial
burden placed on programs and divisions when scientists support
education and outreach, E&O will seek resources to cover scientists'
time, possibly including sabbatical opportunities.
Since many scientists have little experience communicating
with nontechnical or K-12 audiences, E&O will offer training
and workshops for scientists interested in improving their education
and outreach skills. We will develop the resource staff needed
to support scientists as they transfer the results of research
to educational media. We will survey, catalog, and make available
methods and materials for hands-on experiments scientists may
use to demonstrate basic concepts to their audiences. We will
also assess the capacity of scientific staff to participate
in education and outreach activities, given their other obligations.
Objective 3.1.7: Identify areas where lack of expertise
hampers our efforts to accomplish the goals of the education
and outreach program
As a component of our effort to develop the staff necessary
to achieve our education and outreach goals, E&O will survey
the expertise of our personnel and identify areas where future
strategic hires may be desirable. In the formation of E&O, staff
members who are transferred into the new office from other locations
in the institution will be encouraged to share their expertise
across programs. They will also be urged to draw upon the ideas
and experiences of their colleagues as they manage and enhance
education and outreach programs for which they are responsible.
Program evaluation is an ongoing and necessary challenge. Therefore
we will strengthen E&O's staff expertise, engage the customers
that use our products, and/or contract the services needed to
advance our understanding of how our programs affect learning
and pedagogy. Of particular interest are questions about how
people of diverse ages and backgrounds learn about complex and
frequently interdisciplinary concepts (e.g., climate change).
We will investigate how users experience Web sites and distance
learning programs offering satellite and radar images, computer
models, graphic animations, and visualizations of data.
Goal 3.2: Develop, deliver, and promote
educational resources that enhance scientific literacy.
Our institution has a respected record of developing and delivering
educational resources and training. Through the LEARN program,
we developed excellent educational materials for middle school
students, as well as the teacher training workshops needed to
make use of these materials in the classroom. Contributions
from Friends of UCAR have supported the development of Mesa
Lab exhibits, Super Science Saturday, the Weather Trail, and
Web Weather for Kids. Science Now, produced by the Office of
Development and Government Affairs and published online by Mandarin
SIRS Corporation, describes NCAR's scientific research to K-12
teachers. Similarly, COMET is known for the excellence of its
training and distance-learning resources offered to professional
meteorologists. ASP provides an opportunity for highly qualified
graduate and postdoctoral students to engage in research at
NCAR and UOP, enriched by training opportunities designed to
support them in building their careers. Specifically, ASP sponsors
educational seminars and conducts an annual graduate-student
colloquium that reviews recent research developments in emerging
areas of research.
In this goal, the strategic planning committee seeks to define
the scope and focus needed to support formal educational efforts
in the atmospheric and related sciences. Our intent is to build
on UCAR's scientific, technical, and programmatic expertise
to create multipurpose content modules, computer-based learning
and content-delivery mechanisms, and professional development
opportunities for K-12 educators, university faculty, and meteorologists.
The committee has identified three objectives through which
E&O will accomplish this goal.
Objective 3.2.1: Produce and support implementation of content
that builds a foundation for understanding the atmospheric and
UCAR should put more educational materials on-line that
support the goals of universities and other organizations. The
first step in this process will be to survey existing materials
that can be included (with appropriate permissions) on the UCAR
education and outreach Web site. Care will be taken to locate
materials that demonstrate both sound instruction and science.
E&O's interests focus not only on instructional materials, but
also on the hands-on, inquiry-based activities that support
the educational community in meeting national science education
standards. In this effort, we will work with the DLESE community,
which has as one of its objectives to identify and improve access
to high-quality educational resources for the geosciences.
As a result of this survey, E&O will identify subject areas
and grade levels where good materials are lacking and original
science content is needed. The office will channel future content
development efforts in these areas, to ensure that we are not
duplicating the good work of others. Areas already identified
by representatives of UCAR member universities and the AMS Heads
and Chairs are the development and utilization of instrumentation
and the analysis and visualization of data obtained through
E&O will ensure that the UCAR education and outreach Web site
serves as an educational portal for the atmospheric and related
sciences by linking to reviewed education and training resources.
The Web site will also provide for the management and preservation
of intellectual property rights of those who have originated
useful concepts and materials.
Over time, E&O will update and improve access to educational
resource materials by working with programs it directly administers
(e.g., Windows to the Universe, Web Weather for Kids) and by
developing partnerships, including collaborations with other
UCAR, NCAR, and UOP programs; the UCAR community, professional
societies and organizations; and external funding agencies.
Such partnerships may focus on creating content modules and
interactive, inquiry-based activities that cover the full range
of the atmospheric and related sciences. In these efforts, E&O
will build upon our expertise in the delivery of educational
resources through the Web and other computer technologies.
The content of these new resources should be provided both
as complete, self-contained modules and as discrete learning
objects. This structure will allow college and university faculty
and K-12 teachers the greatest flexibility as they design unique
courses for their students. In some cases, faculty may wish
to implement entire modules (for example, on climate change),
while in others they may choose just one interactive component
that demonstrates a physical principle included in their courses.
In addition to modules and learning objects, our library of
educational resources will also contain tools and documented
techniques for assisting faculty in applying and implementing
the available resource materials. We have also been asked to
develop a Web page listing opportunities for study, research,
and employment in the atmospheric and related sciences for undergraduate
through postgraduate students.
A course-development facility could be created at UCAR to offer
the full range or a selection of these services and resources
to university and K-12 faculty for use in their courses and
classrooms. E&O will investigate this possibility further, in
collaboration with DLESE and funding agencies, to ensure that
the needs of our community are being met in ways that most efficiently
build upon existing resources.
When the library of Web-based learning materials is sufficiently
comprehensive, on-line distance-learning courses may be organized
by E&O, with the collaboration and support of the UCAR community.
These courses could be taken by individuals who want to acquire
a broad knowledge of a particular subject. They could also be
adapted by university faculty to support campus instruction,
either in residence, or through distance-learning programs.
Objective 3.2.2: Train and support educators in the use
of science content, activities, and technologies.
E&O will build upon UCAR's expertise in professional development
by designing and implementing workshops that support K-12 and
undergraduate educators. These workshops may focus on improving
knowledge of the atmospheric and related sciences, facility
with computer technology, and proficiency in addressing pedagogical
issues. To involve the intended users of these services in their
design, we will collaborate with the UCAR community, external
funding agencies, and professional societies and organizations
(such as AAAS, AISES, AMS, AGU, MAES, the National Earth Science
Teachers Association-NESTA, NSTA, and SACNAS). We will seek
to multiply the impact of our activities by enrolling pre-service
teachers as well as experienced educators with strong track
records training colleagues in their local communities.
Objective 3.2.3: Engage learners in the dynamic experience
of science, including methods and research
Research has shown that one of the best ways to engage learners
in science is by involving them directly in scientific research.
Within our own institution, we have ample evidence of this effect.
The SOARS program, for example, has been recognized by NSF and
the U.S. Department of Energy as a model science and research
mentoring program for undergraduate and graduate students from
traditionally underserved populations.
develop opportunities for K-12, community college, and four-year
college teachers and students to participate in research with
NCAR and UOP scientists. A key element of this effort will be
to develop a program of Research Experiences for Undergraduates
(REU) at the institution to complement and support SOARS. This
REU program may also bring NCAR and UOP scientists to college
and university communities in an effort to reach as many students
and faculty as possible.
There are many other opportunities to involve undergraduate
and graduate students in the research programs at the institution.
Frequent, short visits by graduate students during their research
projects would establish connections to NCAR and UOP research
projects and scientists. While NCAR supports some visits now,
such a program could be beneficial to almost all graduate students,
and might be especially encouraging to those from underrepresented
Engagement in research will also be facilitated on a larger
scale by extending opportunities for educators and students
to obtain data. A broad spectrum of data could be used in classroom-based
research projects or integrated into modules with specific educational
applications. E&O will work with internal programs such as DLESE,
COMET, the Scientific Computing Division's Visualization Laboratory,
and Unidata to build upon the existing technical infrastructure
for data delivery and user-friendly accessibility.
Goal 3.3: Develop and support inspiring
programs about the atmospheric and related sciences that
allow citizens to make informed decisions.
NCAR, UCAR, and UOP have long maintained an excellent visitor
services and public education program that provides quality
exhibits, educational opportunities, and public events, as well
as outreach to professional societies through the UCAR corporate
booth. In addition to these activities, UCAR's Office of Development
and Government Affairs and UCAR Communications provide information
about our programs and research to the public, decision makers,
and the media. Through this goal, the strategic planning committee
seeks to define the scope and focus of E&O's efforts to support
informal science education activities, as well as more formal
ones in support of atmospheric and related sciences. The committee
has identified seven objectives through which this goal will
Objective 3.3.1: Sustain and continuously enhance our exhibit
and tour program
Our visitor programs serve tens of thousands of people annually,
including many thousands of K-12 students and their accompanying
parents and teachers. To best serve our visitors and excite
them about our science, it is vital that we continually enhance
our exhibit and tour program and that we find ways to extend
its appeal to diverse audiences. It is through contact with
our tour directors and these Mesa Lab resources that our visitors
can be informed about and inspired by cutting-edge research
in the atmospheric and related sciences and its relevance to
The development of self-guided audio tours would ensure that
the same tour experience is available to all visitors, whether
or not their visit coincides with a scheduled tour.. The NCAR/UCAR
40th anniversary celebrations showed the depth of interest within
our local community in science-based outreach events at the
Mesa Lab for children and families. Drawing from E&O's extensive
experience with public programming (e.g., Super Science Saturdays,
the Community Art Showcase, and the Bubble and Balloon Festival),
we will study the feasibility of adding another major event
to our annual cycle of informal science education activities.
E&O will work to align our hands-on exhibits with the National
Research Council's national science education standards. The
office will also develop supplementary educational resources
that integrate childrens' experiences at the Mesa Lab with activities
that can be accomplished upon returning to the classroom.
Objective 3.3.2: Develop a robust public information program
that includes lectures, symposia, and a speakers bureau.
NCAR and UCAR get frequent requests for speakers to address
conferences and civic and educational groups on topics such
as air pollution, climate change, and severe weather, all of
which affect or are affected by human activities. We will provide
a speakers bureau to be responsive to such requests and will
entrain staff support in taking on this outreach effort.
We will support UCAR's Office of Development and Government
Affairs (ODGA) in continuing to hold the annual Walter Orr Roberts
Distinguished Lecture. The series honors people who are role
models for their extraordinary contributions to atmospheric
or related sciences research, education, and/or policy. These
lectures, held in Boulder, Colorado, for a public audience will
be taped for cable and/or radio broadcast in order to make the
information available to a wider audience.
The Roberts Forum Web site, also developed by ODGA, will be
expanded to include all UCAR-originated lectures, talks, seminars,
and briefings that are of interest to students and the general
public. In Roberts Forum programming, scientists and policy
experts from NCAR, UCAR, the university community, the federal
government, and other organizations explain the foci, discoveries,
societal applications, and policy implications of a wide range
of research enterprises in the atmospheric and related sciences.
Options for the Web-based presentation of Roberts Forum programs
include streaming media, enhanced photographs, transcripts,
Objective 3.3.3: Develop and institutionalize partnerships
with media organizations that will facilitate UCAR's ability
to bring science content to the public.
UCAR Communications has close, ongoing, working relations
with major news and documentary media-print, television, radio,
and electronic. Through an enhanced outreach effort, E&O will
help to expand these relationships by developing new collaborations
with production companies and corporations that initiate and
underwrite programming. Such efforts will complement UCAR Communications
efforts by providing additional topical suggestions, by developing
educational content, and by facilitating production. Potential
partners include PBS, the National Geographic Society, the Discovery
and Learning Channels, Black Entertainment Television, the BBC,
British Channel 4, the Weather Channel, and IMAX. In these efforts,
E&O will work closely with the Communications office. The role
of E&O will be to foster new partnerships, participate in concept
development, and provide science-education content. Communications
will maintain its lead role with media, focusing on working
with producers on development and production of programs for
the public from concept to finished product.
Objective 3.3.4: Develop and implement a plan for participation
in high-impact projects that inspire and engage the public in
atmospheric and related sciences.
Increasingly, informal science education opportunities are
being made available in science centers, museums, and theme
parks that serve millions of people annually. We will develop
and implement plans for high-impact projects that provide the
public with inspirational and engaging information about the
atmospheric and related sciences. We will design projects that
are directed to a variety of audiences, according to age, interest,
and accessibility. We will work collaboratively with local organizations
such as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Boulder
Collage Children's Museum and also seek collaborations with
appropriate museums throughout the country. This type of collaboration
might involve developing complementary exhibits placed at the
museums and at the Mesa Lab that share a common theme but uniquely
target visitors attracted to the individual facilities.
Outreach to a more general audience might include production
of traveling exhibits and partnership in creating exhibits at
other science centers and museums. An example of possible collaborative
projects in this area is the development of an IMAX film that
features field research and scientific visualization technology.
Potential partners include the Smithsonian Institution, American
Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Society, and
Franklin Institute Science Museum.
Objective 3.3.5: Highlight advances in atmospheric and
related sciences through high-visibility Web interfaces.
Our institution is blessed with a wealth of exciting and
newsworthy scientific content that could be translated and disseminated
globally to students and the public through the Internet. We
have only just begun to understand how people use and learn
from Web-based educational resources and the potential for growth
in this area is almost limitless. We will redesign the existing
education and outreach Web site for the institution, so that
the information engages our target audiences and interests them
in finding out more about the atmospheric and related sciences.
In these efforts, we will build upon existing resources within
E&O (e.g. the Windows to the Universe program and Web Weather
for Kids), as well as the rich assortment of images, scientific
visualizations, and narratives available through UCAR, NCAR,
and UOP Web sites. We will also use this suite of Web sites
to provide the public with access to UCAR member and affiliate
Objective 3.3.6: Collaborate with UCAR's Office of Development
and Government Affairs to coordinate and leverage our congressional
briefings and visits to policy makers.
The UCAR Office of Development and Government Affairs offers
several congressional briefings each year on scientific research
of particular interest because of its societal implications.
These briefings convey UCAR community funding priorities and
programmatic recommendations to policy makers either in Washington,
D.C., or during visits to the NCAR Mesa Lab. This activity presents
an excellent opportunity for E&O to collaborate with ODGA to
feature educational programs or research topics. These briefings
will then be made available to the general public through the
Roberts Forum Web site.
Objective 3.3.7: Provide training and resources to support
staff participation in public outreach.
Public outreach activities should be an accepted and encouraged
responsibility of scientific and other professional staff. The
time of many staff at our institution and throughout the UCAR
community is already heavily committed. Potential speakers may
not have the training or materials they need to address civic
and school groups, talk to the media, or participate in other
activities that involve nontechnical audiences. Accordingly,
E&O, with partners such as UCAR Communications and the Space
Science Institute, will provide coaching and advice, formal
training, presentation materials, activities, and other aids
to help professional staff throughout the UCAR community carry
out these activities effectively and successfully.
Goal 3.4: Promote the involvement of
diverse and historically underrepresented populations
in the geosciences.
The atmospheric and related sciences are experiencing a downward
trend in university enrollment and professional recruitment,
which points to a grim future for these vital disciplines and
the society which benefits from them. Members of some ethnic
and cultural groups and women in general are untapped resources
in the fields of science, math, and engineering, due largely
to their underrepresentation in university faculty and student
populations in these disciplines.
For over 21 years, first through its Summer Employment Program
and more recently through SOARS, UCAR has demonstrated commitment
to mentoring activities that increase the number of African
American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, and women students
enrolled in master's and doctoral degree programs in the atmospheric
and related sciences. UCAR's goal is to help increase ethnic
and gender diversity within the scientific community of the
future in its top leadership as well as at all levels where
scientific research and operational support are accomplished.
But SOARS alone is not enough. This goal calls upon the Office
of Education and Outreach to encourage and support the institution
and the UCAR community to incorporate diversity into the planning
and implementation of all programs.
Objective 3.4.1: Create and foster academic programs that
promote diversity in the geosciences.
The top priority in meeting this objective is to establish
well-integrated diversity programs that invite and promote the
participation of women and people of color at all levels within
the atmospheric sciences.
SOARS is having a positive impact on efforts to promote diversity
in the geosciences. Areas of impact include increasing the number
of eligible graduate school candidates, graduates, and professionals
in the workforce; contributing to the development of science
through research; presentation of research results at local,
regional, and national scientific meetings; publications in
scientific journals; and education and outreach in general.
It is important to increase the number of internal and external
publications that describe and provide insight into the SOARS
program's success so that the model can become better known
to the public and more widely disseminated throughout the scientific
and educational communities. Efforts will continue to maintain
and enhance ongoing appraisals of SOARS that support collaboration,
synergy, and continuous improvement.
UCAR must investigate additional opportunities for significant
contributions to our diversity goal for other target groups
(e.g., K-12 math and science students from underrepresented
populations), and proceed with implementation of new programs
that extend our diversity efforts into a comprehensive program.
Objective 3.4.2: Survey existing academic bridging and training
programs to determine if collaborations with existing programs
will help UCAR to achieve our goal.
The SOARS program is a very successful model for retaining
undergraduate students from underrepresented groups through
their graduate years. A challenging problem remains, however,
in that the number of these undergraduate students enrolled
in scientific degree programs is small. In order to increase
the diversity of practicing geoscientists, diversity programs
must examine mechanisms by which they may work to increase the
pipeline of underrepresented students from the K-12 and postsecondary
sectors. Part of this analysis must include examination of the
reasons these students are discouraged from participation in
scientific careers. E&O will survey existing academic bridging
programs for underrepresented students as they move from K-12
into colleges and universities in order to determine if collaboration
with one or more of these programs would be feasible.
Objective 3.4.3: Collaborate with selected existing external
programs to encourage individuals to pursue atmospheric and
A number of programs exist that focus on attracting underrepresented
K-12 students to the sciences and retaining their interest through
the high school years. E&O will seek detailed information about
these programs, with the hope of being able to identify students
who may, in the future, be interested in college or university
study in the atmospheric and related sciences. By identifying
these individuals, we will have a database of future possible
applicants to SOARS and other programs.
Objective 3.4.4: Analyze findings in internal and external
studies relating to diversity to determine how the education
and outreach program can support the overall diversity goals
of the institution.
A number of external studies have examined the status of
women and underrepresented minorities in the geosciences. In
addition, UCAR and NCAR have collected information about the
status and job satisfaction of women within the institution.
Recently, the UCAR Diversity Task Force has recommended strategies
for increasing UCAR's diversity. Many of these strategies have
potential to improve the quality of life and job satisfaction
of all people working within our institution. E&O will examine
these internal and external studies to identify ways the office
can support the diversity goals of the institution.
Table 3. Overarching Principles and
Considerations for Prioritization of
the Education and Outreach Program
- All activities should be consistent with the Education
and Outreach Strategic Plan mission, vision, and values.
- All activities should be appropriate for a national
center and should leverage our unique expertise in research,
technology, and program capabilities. Our role as a
national center directs us to emphasize programs with
a national scope.
- Activities that support and collaborate with the UCAR
member universities and affiliates have the highest
- Activities should focus on the integration of scientific
research in education.
- Increasing the diversity of the atmospheric and related
sciences is a high priority in all our programs.
Other Considerations for Prioritization
- Within the constraints of our available resources,
seek an appropriate balance in the implementation of
the strategic plan. Aspects of balance include educational
level (K-12 through postgraduate), regional scale (local
through global), and scope (formal education, informal
education, and diversity).
- Take advantage of funding opportunities if they address
an area of activity identified in the strategic plan.
This may mean that activities of a lower priority receive
more resources and attention temporarily, because resources
are available for these activities.
- Seek new resources rather than taking away resources
from our scientific and technology programs.
- Partner whenever possible, internally and externally,
in order to leverage resources.
- Support all aspects of UCAR's mission-scientific research,
facilities, advocacy, human resources, communication,
and operational partnerships.
Objective 3.4.5: Support the UCAR community in attracting
and retaining a diverse workforce.
E&O will apply its expertise in education and outreach to
the support of efforts to increase the diversity of the workforce
within the institution and throughout the UCAR community.
Objective 3.4.6: Use and, as necessary, develop materials
and exhibits that recognize contributions to atmospheric and
related sciences from diverse groups.
In our exhibit and resource development program, we will
consider using existing materials that strive to recognize contributions
to the atmospheric and related sciences from members of different
cultures. If appropriate resources do not exist, we will collaborate
with others to develop such materials.
Objective 3.4.7: Develop collaborations with organizations
representing diverse groups through participation in their existing
programs and the creation of new programs.
E&O will work to institutionalize and extend our participation
in organizations representing diverse groups (e.g., AISES, SACNAS,
the historically black colleges and universities). We will investigate
opportunities to participate in and support their existing programs,
simultaneously extending our science to them, drawing upon their
knowledge and networks, and making progress toward attaining
UCAR's diversity goal.
Priorities for Implementing the Plan
The Education and Outreach Strategic Planning Committee intentionally
formulated this strategic plan to be a broad and comprehensive
review of the activities we envision over the coming five years.
However, funding and staffing limitations will make it necessary
for E&O to prioritize its activities and optimize the utilization
of resources while significantly supporting the nation's educational
agenda. We have carefully considered the qualities that should
be integral to activities well-aligned with the plan's mission,
vision, and values (Table 2). This analysis has allowed us to
identify overarching principles and related considerations that
will guide the prioritization of our programs (Table 3).
In order to determine the appropriate balance of activities
that will be the outcome of this plan, we need to consider education
and outreach efforts throughout the institution as they currently
exist. The committee has collected data on funding levels for
fiscal year (FY) 2000 from programs throughout UCAR, NCAR, and
UOP that contribute to postgraduate training, graduate and undergraduate
education, K-12 formal science education, informal science education,
Figure 1 shows the overall balance among these areas during
that year. Data from formal and informal K-12 education have
been combined, as have the data for graduate and postgraduate
training. Level of funding is one way to measure the relative
emphasis we place on our education and outreach activities,
although it is not the only way. In particular, this analysis
does not consider the volunteer efforts of our staff.
Some qualifications on the data presented are important to
recognize. The figure provides an estimate of the fraction of
resources, relative to our overall education and outreach effort
in FY00, dedicated to the program areas identified above. The
data were derived from previously published reports and from
interviews with key personnel in the offices, divisions, or
major programs within the institution. Information concerning
NCAR is drawn from NCAR's FY01 budget review, in which divisions
and programs reported the portion of their overall budgets dedicated
to education and training. Information concerning UCAR and UOP
programs was provided by the leaders of those programs. However,
because different definitions of education and outreach may
have been used in reporting activities for NCAR and UCAR, the
data presented here must be taken as only an estimate.
In spite of these qualifications, the figure illustrates that,
in FY00 the institution placed the largest fraction of its education
and outreach efforts in the graduate and postgraduate training
area. Comparatively little emphasis overall was placed on K-12
education, public outreach, informal science education, diversity,
and undergraduate education. As we implement this strategic
plan, guided by the overarching principles and considerations
for prioritization outlined in Table 3, we will ensure that
significant effort occurs in all areas and for all audiences
relevant to the E&O mission.
Figure 1 - Education and outreach activities
as a fraction of the FY2000 Program. This graph represents
the estimated relative activity in the four different components
of the E & O program, based on data collected for the FY01
NCAR Budget review and from relevant program directors in
UCAR and UOP (for more detail, please see the text). The
overall E & O budget for FY00 is estimated at approximately
$21.5 million, excluding volunteer efforts.
UCAR Board of Trustees
Reviewed Draft Education and Outreach Strategic Plan, February
|Otis Brown, Board Chair, University
of Miami, Rosenstiel School
Richard Anthes, UCAR
Leo Donner, Princeton University
David Houghton, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland
Charles Kennel, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli, MIT
||Ron McPherson, American Meteorology
Julia Nogues-Paegle, University of Utah
Mary Jo Richardson, Texas A&M University
David Skaggs, Aspen Institute
Ronald Smith, Yale University
Soroosh Sorooshian, The University of Arizona
Dennis Thomson, The Pennsylvania State University
Gabor Vali, University of Wyoming
Patricia Woodworth, University of Chicago
Commented on developing Education and Outreach Strategic Plan,
and reviewed draft plan, February, 2001
Fall 2000 UCAR Members' Representatives Meeting,
Focus Group on Education and Training, October 10, 2000
Presentation and discussion of developing plan
|Chair: Gene Takle, Iowa State
Presenter: Roberta Johnson, UCAR
Tim Barnes, UCAR
Bruce Berryman, Lyndon State College
Blaine Blad, University of Nebraska
Fred Carr, University of Oklahoma
Paul Croft, Jackson State University
Kathi Delehoy, Colorado State University
Zhenya Gallon, UCAR
Peter Garity, New Mexico Tech
Jindra Goodman, San Jose State University
Bernard Grant, NSF
Patricia Hagen, St. Louis University
Fred House, Drexel University
Kay Howe, private consultant
Lodovica Illari, MIT
Karon Kelly, UCAR
Lynn LeBlanc, University of Louisiana at Monroe
Roland List, University of Toronto
||Paul McCready, Aerovironment
Jose A. Maliekal, SUNY College at Brockport
Mary Marlino, UCAR
James Miller, Rutgers University
Laney Mills, University of Charleston
Susan Montgomery-Hodge, UCAR
Stephen Mudrick, University of Missouri at Columbia
Rene Munoz, UCAR
Don Perkey, University of Alabama at Hunstville
Peter Rabideau, Iowa State University
Mary Jo Richardson, Texas A&M
Bob Roper, Georgia Tech
David Smith, US Naval Academy
Tim Spangler, UCAR
Fred Stafford, University of Chicago
Peter Taylor, York University
Carlyle Wash, Naval Postgraduate School
Tom Windham, UCAR
Participants in Workshop
on Earth System Education Partnerships with Research Institutions,
January 29-31, 2001, NCAR Mesa Lab
Susan Alexander, California State University/ Monterey
Paul Berkman, Ohio State University
Richard D. Clark, Millersville University
Debra Colodner, Biosphere 2 Center
Alan Czarnetzki, University of Northern Iowa
Christopher DiLeonardo, Foothill College
Tom Ervin, NESTA President
Edward Geary, Colorado State University
John Gibbs, City College of New York (Medger Evers College)
Don Johnson, Universities Space Research Association
Jennifer Johnson, University of California / Berkeley
Paul J. Kuerbis, Colorado College
Laurel Lacher, CIRES and White Mountain Apache Tribe
Russanne Low, University of Minnesota
Heather MacDonal,d College of William and Mary
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Carol McLaren, University of Colorado - Boulder
David Mogk, Montana State University
Don Reed, San Jose State University
Martin Ruzek, Universities Space Research Association
Jill Singer, Buffalo State College
Jack Stanesco, Red Rocks Community College
Michael Taber, University of Northern Colorado
Owen Thompson, University of MD at College Park
Susan Wood, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
R. Aileen Yingst, Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
UCAR/NCAR/UOP Staff Participants
Tim Barnes (E&O)
Sally Bates (Unidata)
Brigitte Baeuerle (ATD)
Maurice Blackmon (CGD)
Linda Carbone (E&O)
Dave Carlson (ATD)
|| Steve Cohn (ATD)
Al Cooper (ASP)
Mike Daniels (ATD)
Clara Deser (CGD)
Holly Devaul (DLESE)
Ben Domenico (Unidata)
Jack Fellows (UOP)
Susan Foster (E&O)
Zhenya Gallon (UCAR Communications)
Sandra Henderson (E&O)
Bob Henson (UCAR Communications)
Kaye Howe (DLESE)
Beverly Johnson (SOARS)
Roberta Johnson (E&O)
Karon Kelly (DLESE)
Tim Killeen (NCAR)
Joe Lamos (COMET)
Annette Lampert (E&O)
Peggy LeMone (MMM)
Heidi Lewis (E&O)
Mary Marlino (DLESE)
Don Middleton (SCD)
Kathy Miller (ESIG)
Rene Munoz (E&O)
Roger Pielke Jr. (ESIG)
Carol Rassmussen (UCAR Communications)
Cindy Schmidt (ODGA)
Karen Smith-Herman (E&O)
Tim Spangler (COMET)
Tim Scheitlin (SCD)
Katy Schmoll (F&A)
Jeff Stith (ATD)
Erich Thanhardt (SCD)
Lucy Warner (UCAR Communications)
Marianne Weingroff (DLESE)
Morris Weisman (MMM)
Tom Windham (SOARS)