COSEE-Pacific Partnerships is committed to creating professional development opportunities for marine and aquatic educators working in informal science education institutions and with free-choice learning audiences.
Currently, at many aquariums, museums, zoos, and other out-of-school learning programs, volunteers often have more opportunities than regular paid staff for initial and on-going training in marine and ocean sciences content as well as principles of science learning and interpretation. While many staff members have advanced degrees in marine and ocean sciences combined with years of practical experience as educators and facilitators, they have few chances to continue to develop those areas of expertise through professional development or training. Existing professional development is often very expensive, requires travel or relocation, and while it may help build national networks, does not necessarily help professionals build the local and regional networks that help them keep up to date.
To begin addressing these needs, COSEE-Pacific Partnerships is developing the following programs for educators working in informal science education institutions:
- Evaluation of existing training programs for volunteers and staff offered in conjunction with community colleges.
- Assessment of the professional development needs of educators and husbandry staff in AZA-accredited institutions nationwide.
- Development of a model for professional development that involves scientists working in marine labs, educators working in informal science education institutions, and community colleges.