CORVALLIS - A national panel of experts spent four days this month reviewing the Oregon Sea Grant Program based at Oregon State University, and gave the program its highest rating, "excellent."
"Oregon Sea Grant is excellent throughout, and the program assessment team was extremely impressed," said Robin Alden, chair of the team and a member of the national Sea Grant Review Panel.
The OSU-based Oregon Sea Grant conducts programs of research, education, extension, and communications relating to marine and coastal resources.
Rich Holdren, OSU's senior associate vice president for research, noted that Oregon Sea Grant "received the highest score that any program has received since these reviews were initiated." There are 30 state Sea Grant programs - one in every coastal state.
The review scored program management and planning but gave its main emphasis to Sea Grant's success in connecting with users of information, such as the fishing industry, adult education teachers, and the research community. In those connections, Alden said, Oregon Sea Grant is "exemplary - extremely strong."
And in each category of contribution to science and technology, to extension, public communications, and education, the reviewers rated the program as demonstrating the "highest performance."
After considering documentation and hearing throughout their visit from those who benefited from Sea Grant initiatives such as the Groundfish Disaster Outreach Project and the program's management of the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center, the assessment team gave the program highest marks for delivering significant results relating to society, the economy, and the environment.
Mandated by Congress, the review of state Sea Grant programs occurs approximately every four to five years. The last review, in which Oregon emerged as one of the two best programs among 30 in the nation, was conducted in 2000. The team of six reviewers included senior individuals from academia, government, and the private sector.