Friday, December 18, 2009

Energizing Education

Sustainability requires solutions. Let me tell you about one of SUNY Oswego's signature programs: the Summer Energy Institute.

This program, “Energizing Education for a Better Future,” is designed for Secondary Teachers of Math, Science, and Technology.

Teachers who participate will develop new curricular units on energy and sustainability. Among the topics covered in the institute will be the nature of energy, energy conservation, alternative energy sources such as the sun and wind, nuclear and radiation safety, future energy resources and energy’s connection to politics and social cultures.

Participants 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. The curriculum delivered in this institute was designed using the principles the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Reform Movement that is being promoted by Congress, NSF (National Science Foundation) and NASA.

The current institute is co-directed by Dr. Alok Kumar, chair of the 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,” said Kumar. 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.

“We are going to train teachers to teach about energy issues effectively,” Kumar reports. Not only will the institute help to infuse the workforce with new talent, but it will also help the teachers and everyone they teach to become better consumers and citizens in a global economy driven by energy.

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

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

For more information, visit the Energy Institute’s Web site at: or call the Office of Business and Community Relations at 315.312.3492.

-Thad Mantaro
SUNY Oswego

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