RUCOOL interprets Earth, Oceans and Atmospheric research for the science-interested public locally and globally to promote science literacy. More specifically, our mission is to provide science-interested public audiences with opportunities to experience and understand the cutting edge science of the Center: including scientific data through thoughtful visualizations, the process and nature of science through relevant professional development programs for K-12 educators and the relevance of RUCOOL research to the lives of NJ citizens through innovative programs and media products for K- grey non-expert audiences.
What do we do?
We provide end-to-end support for RUCOOL scientists in broadening their reach and improving the capacity for and quality of impact beyond the university and academia through a range of services including:
- Development of resources: By providing current science and authentic data, RUCOOL provides a direct link for broader audiences to learn about the science of the Center in ways that are interesting and relevant to their lives. These resources, which include data visualizations, videos, and lesson plans, are provided to a wide range of stakeholders such as:
- Educators – To assist formal and informal educators in bringing the nature and process of RUCOOL science to their audiences we have created a number of resources, including those on the COOL Classroom, COSEE NOW, and Polar-ICE websites.
- Industry and Government Agencies – This is something that someone who is more familiar with things like MARACOOS, search and rescue stuff for CODAR, glider stuff and storms monitoring would have to fill out.
- Science Interested Public – To highlight in depth new discoveries, new projects/programs, as well as the major players and approaches that Center members take in conducting their work, we provide regular updates via both traditional (i.e., film, tv, and blog) and social media. Examples include our full length feature films Atlantic Crossing and Antarctic Edge, tv spots???, blogs, and our Facebook and Twitter feeds
- Implementation of on- and off- campus programs for students: The Center develops and implements a suite of formal and informal programs and activities designed to increase interest in K-16 students in the science of the Center. Examples of past and current projects include –
- Rutgers Collaborative for Raritan Education & Observation (current): For Rutgers students the Raritan River is a problem, a physical barrier separating campuses experienced primarily through the windows of a bus. The Raritan River Initiative proposes to transform the Raritan Basin into an academic solution, an interactive field laboratory that enhances the student experience by linking science, engineering, and humanities programs through interdisciplinary classes, projects and activities that take place not only on the banks of but actually on and in the Old Raritan and its tributaries.
- Project Converge (2014): Middle and high school students worked with research scientists to learn about interdisciplinary oceanographic research taking place at the West Antarctic Peninsula in January 2015. Both students and the public, through collaborations with the Liberty Science Center and Cornell Ornithology Lab, followed the mission blog posts and interacted with scientist through Live Video Broadcasts. Moreover, students gained a greater understanding of the research and scientists through classroom lessons and a Spring Research Symposium, where they met the scientists.
- Project PARKA (2012-13): This project connected Kansas high school classrooms with researchers studying the synergistic effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperature on the metabolism, growth, and reproduction of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Students participated in research-specific science lessons, talked with the science team while they were down in Antarctica, engaged in the research mission through science and student blogs, and attended a Student Research Symposium, during which the students and scientists presented their research to one another. The National Science Foundation funded this project as part of a broader impact statement for research scientist Dr. Grace Saba.
- Providing grant proposal support: To be successful in receiving large-scale integrated grants, scientists need end-to-end support in writing effective collaborative proposals and in designing and implementing appropriate strategies for increasing the broader impact of their research. The EPO team assists with developing effective Criterion II/Broader Impact strategies, the EPO team provides face-to-face consultations with science teams to discuss optimal strategies for engaging in education and public outreach and would construct personalized broader impact statements that reference the educational literature and follow important educational trends. We have an extensive Rolodex of education and communication experts/partners and are adept at supporting/brokering professional support for EPO programs and projects.
- Assess the impact of EPO efforts through evaluation: To ensure that the EPO efforts are best serving the intended audience(s), the EPO team will offer a range of evaluation services to help understand the impacts of our work. By a combination of in-office and external collaborations, the team would help assess audience needs through Front End evaluation, collect data to improve program design and implementation through Formative evaluation, and conduct Summative evaluation and impact assessments.