The future of Shoals Marine Laboratory
CALS Impact Statement
Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) is internationally recognized for excellence in undergraduate training in marine science. At our facility on Appledore Island in the Gulf of Maine, we offer more than 25 college-credit courses, research internships for undergraduates studying marine science or sustainability engineering, and individualized research opportunities for students and faculty from Cornell, the University of New Hampshire, and many other colleges and universities.
Bemis, Willy Professor and John M. Kingsbury Director of Shoals Marine Laboratory
issue being addressed
In my first year after becoming director of SML in 2005, I worked to stabilize the finances of SML, secure a new lease for our laboratory facilities on Appledore Island, and expand the curriculum and internship opportunities for undergraduates. I worked especially hard to increase SML`s capacity to serve Cornell undergraduates, particularly our entering freshmen in the life sciences. I developed a new one-month course to serve our entering students in the new life sciences, and it will be offered for the first time in summer 2007. We plan to accept only those students who have scored a five on their AP biology exam and to offer them a broad sample of the very best of the life sciences at Cornell. This will jump start their careers at Cornell and help them to consider career opportunities in marine science. Also, we started in 2006 a new internship focused on sustainability engineering on Appledore Island. SML generates its own electricity, treats its water and processes all wastes. This is both expensive and time-consuming, so it is especially logical for SML to focus on how these basic services can be made more efficient.
SML tuition and fees had not been raised between 2001 and 2005, so I increased tuition and fees for our 2006 credit courses. This steep increase - as much as 40 percent for some courses - helped to bring revenues closer to expenses. Despite the increased expense, more students attended courses at SML in summer 2006 than in summer 2005. My second response was to plan for logical growth as a way for SML to escape chronic programmatic and financial limitations. With the help of Cornell`s real estate and counsel`s offices, I negotiated a 25-year renewal lease for SML's facilities on Appledore Island. During 2006, I secured a 50-year lease for Creek Farm Cottage on the mainland near our facilities on Appledore Island; this offers a new programming venue and access to many new habitats, and we are currently planning renovations and modifications. Third, I worked hard to reach out to Cornell faculty and students to grow awareness of SML and the many opportunities it provides; this recruitment effort has been extended both regionally and nationally for SML`s summer 2007 season. Fourth, I completed a major reorganization of the SML staff, with the goal of focusing everyone's efforts on SML's core mission of providing excellence in undergraduate education.
SML offers Cornell`s only regular field training in marine science. As such, it is critical to the disciplines of environmental, natural resources, atmospheric, and earth sciences. SML delivers a great deal for a unit with annual expenditures of about $1.6M; more than 200 undergraduates per year and an estimated 5,000 visitors per year benefit from SML`s commitment to marine science and conservation. SML`s impact can be greatly increased by strengthening and diversifying its offerings, reexamining and revising the existing curriculum, and involving more Cornell students and faculty. These are my objectives, and as I deliver them, I expect the impact of SML to increase.
Marine science and sustainability
funding source description
SML recovers many costs from students and user groups who pay for the services we provide.
SML benefits from loyal donors, who contributed 15-20% of SML annual operating costs over the last five years.
Paul Streeter (Provost`s Office)
Don Viands (CALS)
Jessica Bolker (University of New Hampshire)
Jon Aber (University of New Hampshire)
Charles Walker (University of New Hampshire)
Jon Pennock (University of New Hampshire)
Irene Bush (Star Island Corporation)
Paul Doscher (Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests)