Message from the Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean
James A. Yoder, PhD
WHOI’s mission and leadership extend beyond ocean science and engineering, to include training the next generation of oceanographic leaders and to helping foster a science-literate and ocean-aware public. These aims meet in WHOI’s Academic Programs Office, with offerings geared toward higher education.
Our flagship program is the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Ocean Science and Engineering, which began as a unique partnership between MIT and WHOI in 1968, is today one of the most prestigious programs of its kind in the world. The Joint Program currently comprises more than 100 graduate students, most of who earn a Ph.D., and nearly 1,000 alumni, who work around the world in academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the U.S. Navy.
Post-doctoral training is a crucial next step in a young scientist’s career development, and WHOI has more than 90 post-docs in residence at any time. Many WHOI scientists began their careers as post-docs here. Post-docs are supported with U.S. and international fellowships and by grants awarded to WHOI scientists, and WHOI also holds an annual competition for internally funded postdoctoral scholars and awards 10 to 12 of these prestigious appointments per year.
Each year we also invite 25 to 30 undergraduate science and engineering students to participate in our Summer Fellows program. Fellows spend most of their time working on research projects with WHOI scientists, but they also attend lectures, try hands-on oceanography on our coastal vessel R/V Tioga, and participate in events that give them a broad look at the life of a professional ocean scientist or engineer in one of the world’s most advanced and competitive oceanographic research environments. Many of these fine young scholars return to WHOI, since Summer Fellows often apply to the Joint Program.
Other programs that WHOI Academic Programs oversees include opportunities for guest undergraduate and graduate students throughout the year, a program for liberal arts students to spend their January intersession at WHOI, training courses in ocean science for oil industry employees, and K-12 programs. Together, all of these are as important to oceanography and our knowledge about the ocean as the scientific research and engineering activities for which WHOI is so well known.