College and University Earth System Science Education for the 21st Century (ESSE 21) Annual Meeting, June 28 - 30, 2004Monterey, California DEVELOPMENT OF AN EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE-FOCUSED EDUCATION AND RESEARCH PROGRAM AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY Principal Investigator: Prabhakar Misra Dept. of Physics, Howard University Co-Principal Investigator: Vernon Morris Dept. of Chemistry, Howard University Co-Investigators: George Curruthers, Naval Research Laboratory James Green, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
INTRODUCTION • Howard University, chartered by Congress in 1867, is a comprehensive, research-oriented Historically Black private university in Washington, D.C. • It aims to provide an educational experience of exceptional quality to students of high academic potential and with particular emphasis on making available opportunities to traditionally underrepresented minorities. • It is the only predominantly African-American University among 88 that are designated as Research/Doctoral University-Extensive by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. • Approximately 80% of the more than 1,200 men and women on the University’s faculty hold doctoral or professional degrees. • In addition to being outstanding educators, many have distinguished themselves for their research on topics as diverse as cancer, sickle cell anemia, African-American literature, atmospheric science and laser spectroscopy. • Howard University has awarded more Ph.D. degrees to African-American students than any other University in the country. • The presence on Howard’s campus of thriving graduate and professional programs also benefits the university’s undergraduate programs, especially those in the sciences.
INTRODUCTION (continued) • Earth & Space Science and Atmospheric Science are perhaps going to be two of the most rapidly growing fields in the 21st century. • Earth & Space Science combine many of the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines – physics, chemistry, biology, aeronautics and meteorology – in a multidisciplinary environment. • Demographics of the U.S. population is undergoing a radical change. It is critical for the long-term health of the earth-space and atmospheric sciences program to broaden participation by including hitherto underrepresented minorities in these areas and have a future workforce drawn from a broad-based talented pool of scientists and engineers that is inclusive rather than exclusive. • In order to address the above concerns, we propose to: • (i) develop Earth and Space Science-related academic curricula and course offerings at Howard University, which will build on the abridged course offering of Summer 2003 and an introductory Earth and Space Science class taught in Spring 2004 as part of the NASA Aerospace Workforce Development Program (AWDP); and • (ii) foster strong partnerships in education and research between Howard University and the Space Science Division of NRL in Washington, DC, and with the Space Science Data Operations Office of NASA GSFC in Greenbelt, MD.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY PROGRAM IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (HUPAS) • Howard University is well-positioned to make advances in Atmospheric Science because of the implementation of the Howard University Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS) in 1998-99. • HUPAS provides an educational and research environment for students to develop expertise in atmospheric science and to prepare them for career opportunities in this expanding field: • It emphasizes comprehensive solutions to atmospheric problems by coupling field measurements, laboratory experiments and atmospheric modeling. • It is the first and only program at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) that offers a terminal degree in Atmospheric Sciences. • It is a program within the Graduate School and represents Howard University’s long-term commitment to goals shared by NASA and the previously funded Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres (CSTEA) at Howard University. • It has helped establish research, training and instruction in a multidisciplinary environment that links the Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering. • The graduate program in Atmospheric Sciences offers a core course structure based on three distinct academic tracks, namely (i) Atmospheric Physics, (ii) Atmospheric Chemistry, and (iii) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY PROGRAM IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (HUPAS) (continued) • Under appropriate guidance provided by suitable faculty advisors, students entering the program combine courses in atmospheric science with courses from the various disciplines and select a research topic appropriate to their interest and career needs. • HUPAS offers both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences. The participating departments also offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in their respective disciplines, with a specialty in atmospheric science. • Howard University is not so well-positioned in the Earth and Space Sciences. • Although HUPAS offers courses in Atmospheric Radiation and Planetary Atmospheres, there is not adequate emphasis on Earth System and Global Change Science. • To improve Howard University’s capabilities in Earth Science Education and Research, the first requirement is to enhance the curriculum by developing comprehensive courses that focus on the fundamental understanding and application of the Earth system for both the classroom and laboratory. • We propose a new undergraduate space science curriculum designed to cover a broad range of topics relevant to the science themes of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. • Partnerships with NRL and GSFC will be crucial for the development and implementation of learning resources and comprehensive Earth Science curricula.
EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE COURSES • Measurements from Space help understand phenomena on Earth. Earth and Space Science go hand-in-hand. Study of planetary atmospheres from space missions helps us understand our past. • Proposed Earth and Space Science courses will build on our Aerospace Workforce Development Program courses, with more emphasis on the Earth Science portion (i.e., including those aspects of Earth science which are relevant in the broader context of planetary science). • Introductory course covers topics relevant to NASA Earth Science themes. Intermediate courses will cover topics relevant to these themes at a more advanced level. There will also be an aside on the results of recent NASA missions (made available by the Space Science Data Operations Office of GSFC). • Proposed introductory level course would have college-level introductory Physics and Calculus as pre-requisites, but could be modified to accommodate students with lesser Mathematics and Physics backgrounds. • As an adjunct to the intermediate-level course, for which no one textbook exists that covers topics relevant to major NASA themes, it is planned to develop the course materials with the objective of publishing them in book and/or electronic media form, after they have been used in at least one course offering. • Previous teacher training and current Howard University courses made use of viewgraphs created in PowerPoint, CorelDraw and AutoCAD, which can be made available via e-mail or disk copy to educators elsewhere.
SUMMER WORKSHOP AND INTERACTIVE WEB SITE • Offer a Summer Workshop for students and in-service DC Public Schools (DCPS) teachers. • Courses will have classroom and laboratory components, together with ample viewing opportunities at the Howard Astronomical Observatory and laboratory experiences within the Space Science Division at NRL. • Interactive Space Science project Web Site will contain colloquia information, regularly updated research activities and assessment of implemented performance metrics. • Department of Physics & Astronomy at Howard University will bear the overall responsibility for the successful implementation of the Summer Workshop and maintenance of the Web Site. • DC Space Grant Consortium (DCSGC) and DC Public Schools (DCPS) • have expressed support and agreed to provide their assistance • will publicize the program opportunities to a wider audience
EXPECTED OUTCOMES • Anticipated Course Offering outcomes: • A good number of students enrolled at Howard University, not only in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry, but other science and engineering departments as well, will become better educated in the subjects of Earth and Space Science. • Pre-college teachers, teachers in training at Howard University and elsewhere in the DC area, and students in science and technology from other universities in the DC area, will also be provided the opportunity to take one or more of these courses, either during the regular school year, or in a special summer session for precollege science teachers. • Facilities of the Howard University Observatory and Planetarium, and of the Space Science Division of NRL, will be available for "hands-on'' educational activities by students taking the above courses, and by pre-college students (including those working on science fair projects). • Contents of the proposed new courses will be developed in book form and in transportable, electronic format, so that they can be readily exported to other institutions, and/or used in an Internet World Wide Web page conducive to distance learning. • Anticipated Research Involvement outcomes: • Faculty and Staff of Howard University will have the opportunity to interact with scientists at NRL and GSFC, thereby forming alliances for team teaching of the course offerings and for future research proposal opportunities. • Students at Howard University will have opportunities to utilize the outstanding facilities at NRL and GSFC (and that too under the mentorship of the excellent staff at these facilities), and thereby enhancing their skills in specific areas of interest to NASA, so that in the future they might be part of a well-trained NASA workforce.
EVALUATION PLAN AND PERFORMANCE METRICS • Effectiveness and impact of the proposed education and research program can be evaluated following the first year of the proposed two-year period of performance. • We envision the following four performance metrics: • Class Enrollment & Research Participation: Assess the number of students enrolled in each of the classes offered, and the number of staff members and students who partake of the research opportunities offered. This will be a measure of the "attractiveness'' of our offerings. Our goal in the first year of the course offering would be to enroll 8–10 students, followed by 10–12 students in the second year. • Assessment of Student Grades: Evaluate grades students receive on tests and final exams. If specific concepts or topics are revealed to be too difficult for a large percentage of the students to grasp, we will follow up with them to learn how to present the material in a more comprehensible manner in future offerings of the same or similar course. • Evaluation Questionnaire: Receive feedback about each participant's conception of the quality of the course taken or research experience pursued. We will develop a questionnaire that we will request each participant to complete at the end of the course or research experience. • Dissemination and Publication of Findings: Course content will be developed in both electronic and print formats.
MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT EFFORT • Principal Investigator, Prabhakar Misra of Howard University, will have the overall management and fiscal responsibility for coordinating and carrying out all of the different aspects of the proposed effort. He will have primary responsibility for implementing successfully the educationally beneficial partnerships between Howard University and other organizations, namely with the Space Science Division of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Space Sciences Data Operations Office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. • Vernon Morris of the Department of Chemistry will serve as the lead science Co-Principal lnvestigator for the project. • George Carruthers of NRL has taught an abridged version of the Introductory and Intermediate Earth and Space Science courses during Summer 2003 and a one -semester Introductory course in Spring 2004 at Howard University, as part of the NASA/AWDP effort. He will aid in the development of the earth and space science curricula and implementation of learning resources at Howard University in order to facilitate the envisioned course offerings. He will also be the point of contact for providing opportunities for Earth and Space Science-focused educational and research opportunities for both Howard University students and faculty at NRL, and the primary point of contact between the DC Space Grant Consortium, the DC Public Schools, and Howard University. • James Green of the Space Science Data Operations Office at NASA Goddard will provide expert guidance for the interdisciplinary development of curriculum materials and resources needed for successful offerings of earth and space science courses at Howard University. He will facilitate the partnership between Howard University and GSFC to better implement learning resources for Earth System and Global Change Science, as well as Space Science, in both the classroom and laboratory settings. He will also help in facilitating access to NASA data, technical material and other pertinent resources available at the data operations office that are relevant for the proposed effort.
FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT • Howard University Astronomical Observatory is located on top of Locke Hall (on the main campus). It is a telescopic observatory equipped with a 12-inch aperture Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, with a microprocessor-driven clock drive along with some atmospheric monitoring equipment. The telescope is housed in a large dome, and is installed on a vibration-free pier. There is room in the dome for supporting computer and maintenance equipment. In addition, there is room for smaller, portable telescopes, including 6-inch Newtonian telescopes assembled by astronomy students. The Howard University Observatory is fully functional; although it does need some renovation and upgrades to ensure its longevity. • Classroom facilities and a planetarium are also located in the penthouse of Locke Hall. • All astronomy classes currently are taught there, allowing students easy access to the observatory when weather conditions permit. • Networking and computer resources at the Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory of Howard’s Department of Physics & Astronomy will be available for the proposed effort. The web site for the project effort will also be maintained in this laboratory. • Observation and instrument facilities at the Space Science Division of NRL, including a solar telescope with videotaping capability currently on loan to Howard University, and a stand –alone solar spectrograph with public viewing capabilities (both built with student participation), will be available for the project. • The archived and real-time data and computing facilities at the Space Science Data Operations Office of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will be facilitated by Dr. Green for usage by Howard University students and faculty.
INTRODUCTION TO EARTH AND SPACE PHYSICAL SCIENCE OBJECTIVES • The primary objective of this course is to provide an introduction to Earth and Space Science, and related areas of physical science, for college students planning to major in these fields (or related areas of engineering), or as background for teaching these or related subjects to pre-college students. • Other objectives include: • Providing background for more advanced courses in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Atmospheric Science, Geology, Oceanography, and other sub-fields of Earth & Space Science, or for related areas of Aerospace Engineering • Introducing other educational resources, including books and periodicals, videos, CD-ROMs, and relevant World Wide Web sites.
INTRODUCTION TO EARTH AND SPACE PHYSICAL SCIENCE • Earth Science and Space Science are truly interdisciplinary fields of science. They are based on all three of the “basic” sciences, biology, chemistry, and physics. • Earth Science is now considered to be only a specialized area in the broader space science field of Planetary Science, particularly in their physical science-related aspects. (However, the emerging sub-field of astrobiology has further increased the commonality between the two fields.) • Like in most other fields of science and engineering, mathematics and computer science are also essential components. • Therefore, the Earth & Space Physical Science course must also introduce many of the basic concepts of Physics and Chemistry, as well as the specialties within Earth & Space Science.
REMOTE SENSING IN EARTH & SPACE SCIENCE WHAT IS REMOTE SENSING? • Remote sensing is a method of measuring the composition, temperature, and other properties of an object by means of electromagnetic radiation emitted, absorbed, or reflected by the object. • Electromagnetic radiation includes not only visible light, but also infrared, microwave, and radio radiation of longer wavelength and lower energy than visible light, and ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray radiation of shorter wavelength and higher energy. • Two primary methods of remote sensing are imaging and spectroscopy.
REMOTE SENSING IN EARTH & SPACE SCIENCE • Satellites in Earth orbit can provide complete global coverage, at regularly repeating intervals, and over long periods of time. • Satellite sensors can use wavelength ranges of electromagnetic radiation which are not transmitted through the lower atmosphere, such as ultraviolet and some types of infrared radiation, to make measurements of the upper layers of the atmosphere (such as the ionosphere and the ozone layer of the stratosphere). • Satellites can make highly accurate, long-term measurements of the Sun’s output of radiation, for comparison with measurements and predictions of global climate change.