5.0 Facilities and Education27
The GEO-sponsored facilities while having primarily a research-driven mission, also have ambitious education and outreach programs in place and in development. These programs typically reflect the missions of the facilities, yet are designed for broad impact at multiple educational levels: graduate and postdoctoral, undergraduate, pre-college, and public outreach.
The programs provide a continuum of learning vital to fostering geoscientific excellence, and promote public support for the geosciences enterprise. GEO can increase its support of education through traditional programmatic vehicles and expansion of GEO's Awards to Facilitate Geoscience Education Program, NSF 97-174 (continued through FY99 as Geoscience Education, NSF 99-44). Examples of the facilities programs for which expanded support is being considered are:
GEO has supported programs having significant impacts on education in the geosciences. Some examples include:
GEO places profound importance on students, at all levels. Gaining direct experience with applications of state-of-the-art instrumentation in the laboratory and in the field is important and GEO should support mechanisms that provide this experience through facilities. One such approach is a program of incremental funding, allowing students to access selected facilities, while, in turn, providing the facilities with enhancement of technician support and full utilization.
Finally, as part of NSF's intention to create a national digital library as a distributed capability, GEO has begun a cooperative program with the Division of Undergraduate Education focused on an Earth systems science curriculum component. GEO will continue developing this collaboration, and pursue similar activities with other Divisions of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR).