Hands-on Learning

An Oswego distinction


Quote - 'find it in the field'E. A. Sheldon statueEdward Austin Sheldon in the 19th century rebelled against education that emphasized noses in books when he founded a school in Oswego that would prepare teachers to engage students with things they could touch. SUNY Oswego has maintained and invigorated that notion for 150 years.

In 2011, we continued to expand our 21st century Global Laboratory network, laid the foundation for the SUNY system's first multiple-major cooperative education program with business and industry, and expanded opportunities for students to partner with professors as they search for solutions to real-world problems.


Research opportunities

Diabetes research
  • Biology and chemistry students work with chemistry professor Webe Kadima on plants native to the Congo that help diabetic patients.

  • Students working with the director of Oswego's Environmental Research Center help the college carry out its role in the latest five-year phase of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program.

Shale study
  • A geology faculty member and students studied black shale from Upstate New York for clues to marine life extinction more than 300 million years ago.

  • An Oswego professor of geology taught a new quarter course, "Earth's Fury in Iceland," and the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano brought the coursework to life.

  • The first set of undergraduates to do research at Oswego's Global Laboratory partner in Taiwan — National Central University's Graduate Institute of Astronomy — used advanced equipment to help advance research relating to Cepheid variable stars and what they reveal about the universe.

  • With the loan of a radar-equipped research vehicle, known as a Doppler-on-Wheels truck, two meteorology professors and several students in 2011 witnessed never-before-seen lake-effect snowstorms phenomena and collected unique data.
  • Many students collaborated with faculty on research toward groundbreaking solutions. Guided by physics, human-computer interaction and computer science professors, student Mark Potter, for example, designed a multi-touch board and worked with the faculty members on applying new teaching methods in physics classes to benefit kinesthetic learners.



Service learning

  • A new course that shows English majors where words can take them puts their verbal talents to use helping nonprofit agencies produce policy manuals, online tutorials and marketing materials.
Human rights for Egypt
  • Interning with Amnesty International, Katherine Raymond titled her Feb. 13, 2011, blog entry "Embassy Protesting: Just Another Day on the Job," musing on the future of Egypt as Hosni Mubarak agreed to step down during the Arab Spring of 2011. "We can hope for a strong democracy in Egypt for everyone’s sakes," she wrote, "but most importantly the Egyptian people's sakes."
  • An associate professor of computer science and students have helped create digital maps of Oswego's Harborfest, helping to organize one of the region's largest summer festivals.

  • Oswego is launching the SUNY system's first multiple-major co-op program, which can place students in full-time paying jobs in their areas of interest for up to six months during their four years of college. The program will provide students earn-learn work experience and take Oswego's longtime success with experiential learning and real-world engagement to a new level.

  • Campus-community-alumni interaction is crucial to Oswego's School of Business. At its 2010 alumni symposium, 10 accomplished professionals returned to campus to interact with students and faculty. Accounting students run a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program each year, and other business students partner with a local bank to offer financial literacy classes for the community.

  • Ecuador courseA class culminated its study of ethnocultural aspects of trauma response with a visit to Haiti to witness that society's ongoing recovery from the 2010 earthquake and to offer mental health training.
  • Oswego's new sustainability course incorporating travel to Ecuador aims to advance sustainability efforts in that country, particularly in one community. Students in the course work with a foundation there that is addressing deforestation pressures and threats to biodiversity.

  • Graduate students in agricultural and mathematics education now have the opportunity to combine Peace Corps service and a master’s degree through the Peace Corps Master’s International program at Oswego.


  • Nobel PrizeThe Carnegie Foundation awarded SUNY Oswego its Community Engagement Classification in 2011. The designation recognizes far more than the college community's many service projects — it signifies that the college has deeply intertwined its core mission of teaching and learning with community needs and that our students learn by engaging with people and projects beyond the college's boundaries.

  • A number of Oswego alumni basked in the reflected glow of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to Ei-ichi Negishi, a longtime research partner of emeritus Oswego professor Augustine Silveira. Both engaged their students in their collaborative projects and co-authored papers with them that became part of the overall package that the Nobel honored, Silveira said.