Metcalf Institute to join University of Rhode Island’s College of the Environment & Life Sciences

Move Consolidates URI Strengths in Science Communication and Engagement

The University of Rhode Island announced plans for the Michael P. Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting to join the College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), effective July 1, 2017.

Metcalf Institute was established at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) in 1997 to honor Michael P. Metcalf, the late publisher of The Providence Journal, who had a deep passion for the environment and was known for his integrity, vision, and high journalistic standards. The Institute expands accurate environmental news coverage and fosters informed public conversations about environmental issues through innovative training and resources for journalists, researchers, and other science communicators.

The move will enhance CELS’ existing science and environmental communication research projects, courses, and fellowships and enable new partnerships and collaborations across academic disciplines throughout the university.

“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 Graduate School of Oceanography. “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.

“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.”

“We are proud of our success within the Graduate School of Oceanography and the global outreach work of GSO’s Office of Marine Programs,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of Metcalf Institute. “Metcalf’s reputation for programmatic excellence is due, in part, to the contributions of GSO 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 location on URI’s Kingston campus. This is the right time for URI to address the growing communication challenges of both scientists and journalists in an integrated way, and we’re thrilled to be part of this effort in the College of Environment and Life Sciences.”

Since 1999, Metcalf Institute has conducted more than 80 programs benefiting nearly 1,600 journalists, scientists, and other science communicators at workshops, seminars, and conferences at URI and across the country. Metcalf alumni represent a wide range of local to international media organizations across all media types, as well as science researchers and communication staff from universities, state and federal agencies, and non-profits.