This study reports the results of a baseline study for COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) Great Lakes' attempts to facilitate collaboration between scientists and educators. To characterize Great Lakes scientists' involvement in K-12 education and identify factors related to scientists' potential for the role of education partner, marine and aquatic scientists were recruited to complete a survey at a conference on the Great Lakes in 2006. Three research questions guided the study: 1) how are Great Lakes scientists involved in K-12 education, 2) what barriers may deter their participation in educational outreach, and 3) which factors are related to scientists' potential for the role of education partner. Through 94 survey responses, scientists reported their familiarity with terms in education, attitudes toward involvement, experiences, barriers and motivating factors in educational outreach. Regression analysis shows that four predictor variables account for a majority of the variance in explaining scientists' experience in collaboration with teachers (a combined predictive ability of 42%): familiarity with terms in education, professional training (educational competencies and collaborative cultures), and age. Results imply that professional training programs for research scientists may be needed to improve scientists' educational outreach capacity. Such information will be of particular value to programs such as COSEE Great Lakes whose focus is on facilitating scientist-educator interactions and improving scientists' educational outreach capacity for ocean and Great Lakes science literacy.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1