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New URI Partnership to Expand and Strengthen Metcalf Institute

URI Kingston aerialMetcalf Institute is poised to expand its national and global impacts by joining the University of Rhode Island College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), effective July 1, 2017.

This move strengthens Metcalf’s bottom line, providing institutional support for 25% of the annual staffing budget while enabling new training and educational opportunities at URI, across the U.S. and around the world. In turn, Metcalf Institute will accelerate CELS’ push to develop novel collaborations for the study and practice of science and environmental communication.

“URI has the institutional capacity to be a national leader in advancing science communication and engagement, and Metcalf Institute is a key component of this capacity,” said John Kirby, dean of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. “I’m looking forward to combining CELS’ global connections and Metcalf Institute’s training expertise to create new professional development opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, while expanding URI’s educational offerings to meet the needs of students who seek interdisciplinary grounding in science and communication.”

CELS, with a community of approximately 100 faculty members and 2,200 students, is a leader in the areas of environmental and life sciences, environmental economics and management, marine policy, and informal environmental education. It’s also home to URI’s popular Cooperative Extension program.

“We are thrilled to join the College of the Environment and Life Sciences,” said Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute executive director, who will become a faculty member in the URI Department of Natural Resources as part of the move. “The need to foster informed conversations about environmental challenges and their solutions is greater now than ever. This partnership with CELS offers countless opportunities to pursue Metcalf Institute’s science engagement objectives across a wider range of audiences, from the journalists and scientists we have always served with professional development programs, to undergraduate and graduate students, to new public audiences.”

“It’s been exciting to watch Metcalf Institute grow over the past 20 years into an internationally recognized program benefiting journalists and scientists worldwide,” said Bruce H. Corliss, dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). “While we’ll miss Metcalf’s daily presence on the URI Bay Campus, we’re pleased that GSO faculty and graduate students can continue our participation in Metcalf’s programs while expanding the Institute’s reach throughout the entire university.”

Metcalf Institute’s Annual Public Lecture Series and Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, which brings reporters and editors to URI from around the world, will continue to be hosted at GSO each June.

“We are proud of our success within the Graduate School of Oceanography and the GSO Office of Marine Programs, Metcalf’s home at URI since 1998,” said Menezes. “Metcalf’s reputation for programmatic excellence is due, in part, to the contributions of URI Graduate School of Oceanography faculty, staff, and students who shared their expertise with the hundreds of journalists who have attended our Annual Science Immersion Workshop since 1999.” We look forward to continuing these relationships from our new home on the Kingston campus.”

CELS is located on the URI Kingston campus. Metcalf will move into its new home, the Coastal Institute in Kingston, in August.