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Report from the Vice President for Academic Programs & Dean
Summer Student Fellowship Program


Academic Programs > Report from the Vice President for Academic Programs & Dean

Report from the Vice President for Academic Programs & Dean

John Farrington, Vice President for Academic Programs & Dean. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst)

Payal Parekh and Meena Parekh
Payal Parekh, left (with her mother Meena Parekh), received the George P. “Gera” Panteleyev Award, which recognizes the graduating student who exemplifies a commitment to improving the graduate educational experience and student life at WHOI. The award honors the memory of Gera Panteleyev, a Joint Program student who died during a research expedition in Russia in 1995. The recipient is selected by the Joint Program students. Payal received a doctoral degree in chemical oceanography in 2003. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst)
The interweaving of research, teaching, advising, and mentoring has been at the heart of the Institution’s learning environment since its founding in 1930. This culture and practice was carried forward formally with the inauguration of a graduate education program in 1968. By 2003, the 35th year of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, more than 600 degrees had been granted through this unique joint degree program. Our alumni and alumnae continue to rise to leadership positions in ocean science and ocean engineering worldwide, advancing knowledge of the oceans and applications of that knowledge in the academic, government, business, and nonprofit sectors. The 134 students enrolled in 2003 are following in the excellent tradition of their predecessors.

Our postdoctoral program has continued to attract the highest caliber recent doctoral degree recipients. We have reorganized our postdoctoral advising and support structure to provide the high-quality WHOI postdoctoral experience for nearly three times the number of postdocs in residence at WHOI, compared to the mid-1990s, due to increased internal and external fellowship support. The postdoctoral program continues to be an important recruiting mechanism for WHOI scientific and technical staff. Four of the five new assistant scientists who took up their appointments this year came from the postdoctoral ranks of WHOI.

Our undergraduate offering, a summer program of research experience and introduction to Academic Programs ocean science and ocean engineering, continues to attract a high number of competitive applications nationwide. Thirty undergraduate summer student fellows and minority fellows took part in the program this year, representing 29 educational institutions (see Summer Student Fellowship Program). We are cooperating with our neighbor institutions in Woods Hole—the Marine Biological Laboratory, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States Geological Survey, and the Sea Education Association—to recruit and retain greater numbers of students from underrepresented groups into ocean science and ocean engineering.

Our fall and spring workshops for K-12 teachers are enthusiastically received and provide an effective forum for connecting K-12 educators with the latest research. These workshops complement our efforts in various areas of distance learning on the Web. In 2003, we completed the first full year of a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the New England Center of Ocean Science Education Excellence (NE-COSEE), a partnership of WHOI, the New England Aquarium, and the University of Massachusetts. The COSEE is finding and evaluating ways to link ocean researchers with educators, students, and the public across the region, and assisting researchers with tools, techniques, and opportunities for outreach.

While our primary focus is on higher education, the Institution’s education efforts appropriately span the life-long learning experience—sometimes referred to as “K to gray.” As one of the “gray” folks, I enjoy immensely my continuing education—learning from the students, postdocs, and colleagues of our WHOI Academic Programs.

—John Farrington (jfarrington@whoi.edu)
Vice President for Academic Programs & Dean

Related Web Sites
Academic Programs
MIT/WHOI Joint Program
New England Center of Ocean Science Education Excellence (NE-COSEE)