Summer institute looks to 'energize' education

SUNY Oswego plans to offer a summer institute about energy issues both local and global. The two-week Energy Institute, “Energizing Education for a Better Future,” July 6 to 15, is designed for high school math, science and technology teachers.

The institute on the Oswego campus will provide teachers with activities they can directly implement in their current curriculum and/or use to develop new curricular units on energy and sustainability.

The curriculum delivered in this institute was designed using the principles of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Reform Movement being promoted by Congress, the National Science Foundation and NASA. Topics will include the nature of energy, energy conservation, alternative energy sources such as sun and wind, nuclear and radiation safety, future energy resources and energy’s connection to politics and social cultures.

Attendees will visit a variety of energy facilities in the area. Each participant will build an energy curriculum portfolio that includes handouts, lesson plans and learning activities that can be used in the classroom.

From 1985 to 2005, the college operated an institute and workshops in energy education for schoolteachers from around the state with funding from the New York Power Authority and Entergy Corp. Over time, these programs have affected nearly 600,000 children through the approximately 500 teachers who participated, organizers estimated.

In 2009, funding from the New York State Department of Labor supplemented scholarships for attendees. Partial funding for the 2010 program will come again from a state grant from the Department of Labor.

The institute is co-directed by Dr. Alok Kumar, chair of the SUNY Oswego physics department, and Thomas Kubicki of the technology department.

“Because the baby boomers are retiring, there is a shortage of workers for the energy industry,” Kumar said. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that by 2012 there will be nearly 10,000 more energy industry jobs than workers available to fill them.


The institute aims to infuse the workforce with new talent, while helping the teachers and everyone they teach to become better consumers and citizens in a global economy driven by energy. “We are going to train teachers to teach about energy issues effectively,” Kumar said.

He noted that the United States has 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 25 percent of the world’s energy consumption. “This imbalance forces us to be dependent on other nations, creates a scarcity for energy resources in the global market and weakens the ecosystem,” he said.

Some adverse impacts are easily avoidable, Kumar said, through energy conservation, new energy resources and smart energy practices. “This is a global issue that requires local action,” he said.

Registration will be available until May 23. Up to 24 applicants may be accepted into the institute. Participants can opt to enroll for a non-credit option or pay tuition for three credits, graduate or undergraduate. Non-credit and graduate study options satisfy professional development requirements, organizers said.

For more information, visit the Energy Institute’s Web site at: www.oswego.edu/academics/continuing/summerwintersessions/energy_institute.html or call the Office of Business and Community Relations at 312-3492.

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(Posted: Feb 10, 2010)

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