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>  News Releases >   2003 >   January

Science education gets a boost

Posted 01/06/03, by Susan Knapp

Dartmouth and Montshire Museum team up, maximizing shared love of science

Creative science education for schools and families in New Hampshire and Vermont just got a boost with a new collaboration between Dartmouth College and the Montshire Museum of Science. The new "Dartmouth/Montshire Institute for Science Education - a Collaborative for Community Outreach" capitalizes on several existing joint projects and opens the door for many future possibilities.

A natural partnership has grown between these neighbors, two influential institutions that reside across the Connecticut River from one another. Dartmouth College and the Montshire Museum share a common belief about education: learning and scientific exploration should be fun and accessible to all. Primarily, the Institute will coordinate a variety of collaborative projects to maximize their impact, especially on the K-12 community: students, teachers and parents.

"By making our relationship formal in this way," says Mary Lou Guerinot, Dartmouth Vice Provost and a Professor of Biological Sciences, "we acknowledge our joint commitment to informal science education and pave the way for developing future collaborations. The Upper Valley community will certainly benefit from this partnership."

"We have a lot to share regarding informal science for many audiences - school kids, teachers, adults, and families."

-Greg DeFrancis

"This gives our collaborations an intellectual umbrella," says David Goudy, Director of the Montshire Museum. "Each institution's expertise complements the other. Our educators have the resources to develop, deliver and assess effective outreach programs, and Dartmouth faculty often wish to include an outreach component as part of their research programs. The new Institute will be the engine that drives our creative energy to inspire the next generation."

The Institute will have no permanent staff. Funds for outreach initiatives will come from grants written by faculty and staff at Dartmouth and at the Montshire. Serving as advisors to answer questions and facilitate discussions are: Guerinot and Brian Chaboyer, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, for Dartmouth, and Goudy and Education Director Greg DeFrancis for the Montshire.

Staff at both the Montshire and at Dartmouth bring experience to the Institute. There have already been a number of successful collaborations (see Dartmouth and the Montshire Museum have collaborated in the past). Additionally, the new link between the two organizations strengthens fundraising possibilities.

"By referencing the Dartmouth/Montshire Institute in grant proposals, we can make a more convincing case for our commitment to community science education," says Guerinot. "It's also important for granting agencies to know we have a consistent, standard method to assess and evaluate the success of our programs. This new Institute helps us build solid programming for the future."

"We have a lot to share regarding informal science for many audiences — school kids, teachers, adults, and families," says DeFrancis. "The Institute can help us harness this expertise and deliver it to the community."

- Susan Knapp

Related news

Dartmouth and the Montshire Museum have collaborated in the past

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