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Integrating Scientific Research and Ecology Education

Symposium organized by M. Krasny, C. Brewer, and D. Ebert-May at the 88th Annual Meetings of the Ecological Society of America. Savannah, GA, 2003.

The purpose of this symposium is to explore ways in which university scientists and educators are collaborating to develop educational programs, and to address the related issues of scholarship, evaluation, and integrating outreach, teaching, and research. Recent increases in funding opportunities and in pressure from government and private foundations have resulted in a proliferation of educational programs tied to university scientific research. However, opportunities to learn through these efforts about how universities can best impact and improve education along the K-16 continuum are limited by the dispersed nature of the programs and by the lack of a related research agenda. An additional challenge is that scientists being asked to conduct outreach programs may lack experience working with the K-12 audience, and outreach often is not integrated with the university research and teaching functions.

Symposium speakers will address the following questions: How might national science education reform impact our undergraduate and K-12 education efforts? How can we integrate our undergraduate education and K-12 outreach programs with scientific research and graduate student training? What are the impacts of educational programs on the school students and teachers, and on university students and faculty? How might we evaluate such programs and what evidence will we accept that programs are having an impact? Finally, we will synthesize the ideas presented in the symposium, and make recommendations for the future of university education and outreach programs.




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