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Education Office records

 Record Group
Identifier: AC-13

Scope and Content Note

The Education Office records consist of files that span the years 1930-2003, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1959-1999. Materials include ephemera, correspondence and memoranda, student files, organizational charts, certificates, reports, guides, celebratory materials, brochures, programs and other publications, photographs and videotapes. Although the files document the history and activities of the Education Department, materials also include files of the Marine Policy Center that may not be found in the Center’s own files.


  • 1930-2006 (Bulk 1959-1999)

Language of Materials

The records are in



Closed/Restricted: materials may only be viewed by the Office of Origin or with permission of the Archivist; student records are permanently closed.


Copyright: Permission to publish material from the collection must be authorized by the Institution Archivist.

Historical Information

The Education Office at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was formally established in 1968 at the start of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. The Institution, however, had always been involved in the education of graduate students. WHOI was established in 1930 as the result of recommendations of a committee of the National Academy of Sciences appointed to consider the share of the United States in a worldwide program of oceanographic research. The committee’s report stated, among other things, that:

A single well equipped oceanographic institution in a central location on the Atlantic coast is needed to supply necessary facilities for research and education, hitherto lacking, and to encourage the establishment of oceanography as a university subject. Such a central institution would contribute to the advancement of oceanographic research not only by the productivity of its staff but also by the impetus that it would give to studies in this field in various universities. The proposed institute would also serve a most important purpose by providing facilities for visiting investigators, and by co-ordinating the scattered interests of numerous governmental and private organizations already active in parts of the field. 1

WHOI’s original charter emphasized “the study of oceanography in all its branches; to maintain a laboratory, together with boats and equipment and a school for instruction in oceanography and allied subjects.” 2

WHOI had maintained an informal program supporting graduate study through fellowships. Funds set-aside for grants and fellowships permitted graduate students to work at the Institution under the guidance of the staff, and also encouraged junior instructors from many institutions to develop oceanographic work as their specialty. As far back as the early and mid 1930s, people such as Bostwick Ketchum, Ray Montgomery and Mary Sears spent their summers at WHOI supported as fellows doing work on their theses. The success of this program was such that with the advent of World War II, the Institution was able to recruit an adequate number of people with training and experience in oceanography to allow it to participate effectively in the war effort. Until the mid-1950s the fellowship program maintained a low profile.

In his memorandum on the Institution’s educational activities on 1 December, 1951, Director Admiral Smith (US Coast Guard, retired) noted that it would be fitting for WHOI to conduct a summer course in physical oceanography to supplement the marine ecology course being offered by the Marine Biological Laboratory the following year. 3 This idea took hold many years later at the beginning of Paul Fye’s directorship, in 1961. Admiral Smith also recognized the need to seek additional funds to support the educational component of the Institution’s program. The formation in 1952 of an Associates program led to funding for a series of educational fellowships in 1955. Between 1955 and 1962 eleven fellowships were awarded for graduates pursuing their advanced education in the earth sciences. The Institution also took serious strides in formalizing its graduate program and, in 1955, gained recognition as an institution of higher education by the Office of Education of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This action was required for the Institution’s acquisition of, and title to, the ex-Coast Guard Cutter Crawford .

In his correspondence in 1955 with Mr. William Van Alan Clark concerning education, Smith wrote:

Thank you for your letter of October 13 and the copies of correspondence pertaining to the “College of Life Sciences” at Woods Hole. Such a future expansion is certainly appealing to the imagination and these are the days of mergers. I am taking the liberty of showing your letter to Raymond Stevens who I am sure will be much interested. We might get together with Van and discuss the matter.

In my opinion it would be very desirable to undertake a more active educational program at WHOI at the graduate level, granting Ph.D. degrees to qualified persons holding MA degrees. As Van [Clark’s son] remarks, teaching aids research, and since I have been here I have sought several means to bring teaching and lecturing to our doors. For example, we have talked with MIT officials of a joint educational effort in the earth sciences. 4

Although such joint ventures came about years later, the educational program became in some respects more formal from the start of Paul Fye’s directorship in 1958. In response to the post-World War II years’ growth of oceanographic research, the Institution’s Trustees investigated the Institution’s existing educational involvements in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As one of his first official acts as director, Paul Fye established an Educational Policy Committee charged with suggesting changes in policy to the Director and also organizing and supervising the fellowships program. This group, also acting as the Fellowship Committee, consisted of five senior members of the staff: Bostwick H. Ketchum, Vaughan T. Bowen, J. Brackett Hersey, Joanne S. Malkus, and William S. von Arx.

The Institution awarded a total of 320 fellowships from 1930 through 1958. In 1959 WHOI decided to substantially increase stipends for the predoctoral Summer Student Fellowships and to publicize the program widely. In his ‘Memorandum of Immediate and Future Program Needs of the WHOI’, October 1959, Fye wrote:

It is proposed that we increase our graduate level summer fellowships to fifteen, post-doctorate short-term fellowships to twelve, senior postdoctoral year-round fellowships to six, year-round postdoctoral fellowships to eight, as well as provide a travel budget for foreign students to Woods Hole to participate in this worldwide scientific effort. This will require $2 million capital investment so that we can increase our annual expenditures in this direction to $150,000. In ten years we should have expanded our academic efforts and it is estimated that $8 million would properly fund these important activities. 5

Within three years, 141 fellowships were awarded. The budget was also increased for general educational purposes. The Institution doubled the amount being appropriated from the endowment income, and substantial help came from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Sloan Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

In 1959 the NSF was a financial sponsor of the new summer course in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD), a discussion group in the fields of hydrodynamics and theoretical oceanography. The GFD and the Summer Student Fellow Programs became the earliest and longest standing programs at WHOI. In 1961 another course, entitled Observational Physical Oceanography, was initiated on an experimental basis and resulted largely in response to a growing demand from universities that teach oceanography but have no ships. As noted earlier, Director Admiral Smith first anticipated this course in 1951, and hoped to supplement the new marine ecology course that was first offered in 1952. Coursework was followed by a data-collecting cruise aboard R/V Chain . By 1963 three formal courses for college and graduate students utilized the Atlantis as a training ship. Also in 1963 WHOI established a science scholarship at Lawrence High School in Falmouth, awarded for science or engineering to a graduating senior. This is now a $2,000 Mary Sears Scholarship, awarded as the Falmouth Science Fair First (overall) Place Award.

The Trustees and Institution’s leaders recognized that the pattern of informal participation in universities had become less appropriate with the development of numerous independent marine programs blossoming in universities. In 1963 they invited Norris Rakestraw, then Dean of Graduate Studies at Scripps, to study the Institution’s educational needs and obligations. In June 1964 a Trustees’ Education Committee, consisting of Dr. James S. Coles and Professors Arnold B. Arons and Carroll L. Wilson, was appointed to report to the Trustees with a review on the Rakestraw report and other educational proposals that had arisen, recommending that they incorporate a graduate educational program into their structure. The Committee expanded in 1965 to include Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner and Dr. Detlev W. Bronk. In their interim report of January 1965, the committee’s central conclusion was that “…the establishment at Woods Hole of a graduate studies program leading to the Ph.D. offered the best promise for insuring the intellectual viability of the Institution and for discharging its responsibility in the field of education.” 6 The Committee’s final report in June 1966, recommended joint degrees to be administered with both MIT and Harvard. Harvard later chose to retain cooperative status rather than share in a joint degree program. The Committee believed that “…these proposed joint programs are unique in their conception and in the degree of genuine cooperation which will be fostered, and it anticipates that they will catalyze the development of what might well become the world’s most distinguished educational program in oceanography.” 7

On November 11, 1967, the Institution received authorization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to grant graduate degrees in oceanography. Within six months, on May 8, 1968, Presidents Paul Fye of WHOI and Howard Johnson of MIT signed a Memorandum of Agreement on the deck of the R/V Chain that approved the creation of a Joint Graduate Program in Oceanography. In addition to the new formal program with MIT, WHOI continued and later expanded its cooperative educational programs with other universities.

Concerns about accommodating students were raised as early as 1959, when Fye wrote, “Our buildings are so crowded that we cannot envision real expansion of our fellowship program without a large increase in laboratory space”. 8 By 1968, facilities were needed to house the growing education and research programs. Paul Fye directed the expansion of the Institution’s physical plant with the 1968 acquisition of the Quissett Campus, a 183-acre tract just outside Woods Hole. The Institution’s largest research facility, Clark Laboratory, was constructed on the campus in 1974.

In September 1968 Burr Steinbach joined the Institution as the Joint Program’s first Dean, replacing K. O. Emery, who served briefly as interim Dean. Steinbach had previously served as Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory, research biologist, and departmental chairman at Chicago. By the end of his five-year tenure in 1973, the joint venture transformed into a full graduate program with nearly seventy students and had granted twenty-three doctoral degrees. The initial program in Physical Oceanography quickly broadened its scope to include programs in Ocean Engineering and Biology, and students had access to courses at Harvard, Brown and Yale Universities. In 1970 the Institution received authorization to accept students for a program leading to the Doctorate conferred by WHOI alone.

One of the first highlights during Robert W. Morse’s tenure from 1973 to 1979, occurred in 1975 with the awarding of the first Ph.D. s in Ocean Engineering and in Biological Oceanography. In addition, a charter, approved by the Trustees, established the Educational Assembly, a faculty-like organization designed to formalize the staff’s role in setting educational policies. The Assembly, consisting of about 125 members, included resident scientific staff, those with a responsibility in the conduct of educational programs, and eight elected students. Due to its size, an elected Education Council, which operated as the Assembly’s executive committee, carried out much of the detailed and preparatory work. During the first year, the Assembly and Council investigated a long-standing question; namely, the role of education relative to research in the evaluation of a staff member’s qualifications for promotion. They discovered that most scientific staff members participated to some extent in the graduate program and that such participation had become more prevalent in deliberations of reappointment and promotion.

When the Institution awarded its first independent Ph.D. degree in June 1976, Paul Fye spoke of its primarily symbolic significance: “...this first independent degree represents the full maturation of the Institution’s educational development which was launched some eight years ago. In short, the milestone we mark today is the coming of age of this Institution as a center for advanced education, as well as for research.” 9

In 1979 Charles Hollister was as appointed the new Dean of Education. The Provosts of both MIT and WHOI initiated a Joint Program Review Committee to review the joint educational efforts of these institutions. With Hollister and MIT Dean, Kenneth Wadleigh, as co-chairs, the group consisted of Arthur Baggeroer and John Southard of MIT, and Richard Backus and Geoffrey Thompson of WHOI. Upon the Committee’s recommendations in 1981, a major reorganization of the Joint Program faculty committees took place. In addition, a Joint Program office was established at MIT under the direction of Professor John G. Sclater and an administrative assistant, Mary Athanis. Hollister, as Dean, joined the MIT Council on Graduate School Policy, and Professor Sclater served on the Educational Council at WHOI. Arthur Baggeroer replaced Sclater in 1983 as the new MIT director of the Joint Program.

Also during Hollister’s first year as Dean in 1979, WHOI hosted a two-day meeting of major academic officers in charge of doctoral programs in oceanography. This first “Deans’ Retreat” met to discuss mutual concerns and problems in ocean science graduate education. The second retreat, hosted by the University of Hawaii in 1982, included officers from Dalhousie University, Universities of Delaware, Hawaii and Washington, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, MIT/WHOI, Oregon State University, Scripps, and Texas A and M. Their findings included the following:

  1. - a nationwide shortage of qualified applicants to the physical, geophysical, and engineering subdisciplines of oceanography
  2. - a nationwide downward trend in the number of applications to all fields of oceanography, especially in the field of biological oceanography
  3. - a noticeable increase in the quality of undergraduates applying to oceanography graduate programs
  4. - all graduate schools represented  provided successful applicants with financial support equivalent to tuition waivers as well as stipends
  5. - a strong consensus that oceanography schools would have to recruit more vigorously if the number of applicants continued to fall; and that a booklet covering career opportunities in oceanography was considered to be the most cost-efficient way of achieving this.

Hollister also completed the ‘Careers in Oceanography’ booklet published in 1983 by the American Geophysical Union. The booklet’s first distribution target was the National Science Teachers Association, comprising 40,000 members, as the key vehicle for spreading the word among thousands of science-oriented undergraduates.

In 1983, at the third Deans’ Retreat at the University of Washington, Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), Inc. agreed to act as an organizational body to help the Deans’ group and provide support for future meetings. An executive committee, formed to coordinate future retreats and carry out recommendations of the body, was chaired by Hollister, with A. Lawrence “Jake” Peirson III as its Executive Secretary. Also in 1983 the MIT/WHOI Joint Program’s resident student body rose above 100 for the first time in the Program’s seventeen-year history. The following years, however, brought a decline in applicants to graduate schools of oceanography, a concern that the Deans’ Retreats continued to address at their annual meetings.

The 1985 a new microwave link brought WHOI the “television classroom” saving students and faculty from commuting between campuses. Physical Oceanographer Joseph Pedlosky, Engineer Hartley Hoskins, and Arthur Baggeroer, Professor of Ocean Engineering at MIT were instrumental in the development of the idea. In 1985 five new Chairs, one within each department, were created with J. Seward Johnson endowment funds to award to staff members who made outstanding contributions to the Joint Program. Recipients included: John M. Teal, Biology; Edward R. Sholkovitz, Chemistry; Brian E. Tucholke, Geology and Geophysics; George V. Frisk, Ocean Engineering; and Michael McCartney, Physical Oceanography. Chairholders served as departmental Education Coordinators advising students, coordinating and teaching course work, assessing and coordinating educational activities in each department on behalf of the Department Chair.

In 1986 the Ocean Ventures Fund was created in response to the frustrating status quo, the need for more financial support in the Education budget, and to give Joint Program students the chance to be innovative and risk-taking. In 1987 the Fund gave five students access to unrestricted private money that had previously been available only to established scientists.  Another highlight of 1987 was the summer graduation of the first US Navy officers enrolled in the Joint Program, as a result of an education initiative established by then Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, in 1985. In addition, the Office of Naval Research approved funding for grants for College Faculty Workshops in 1987, to help bring undergraduate science teachers up-to-date on ocean science. The workshops, held concurrently at WHOI and at the University of Washington in Seattle, were organized as a result of concern over the declining numbers of applicants to graduate schools in Oceanography. In 1989 the second successful College Faculty Workshop ran concurrently with workshops at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Washington.

In 1988 the MIT/WHOI Joint Program celebrated its 20th anniversary including a day long symposium at MIT on “Ocean Sciences and Technology: Preparing for the Next Millennium.” The symposium ended with the presentation of a plaque engraved with: “For twenty years of dedicated service in helping to make the Joint Program what it is today – the best” to WHOI Assistant Dean A. Lawrence Peirson III. “Jake” Peirson played a key role in the development of the Joint Program from its beginning, first as Assistant to the Dean, (then H. Burr Steinbach), then as Assistant Dean and Registrar from 1975 to 1989, and as Associate Dean until his retirement in 1996. He continues as Executive Director of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program Alumni/Alumnae Association. Also in 1988, Professor Sallie “Penny” Chisholm succeeded Arthur Baggeroer as MIT’s Director of the Joint Program, and the first degrees were awarded in the Institution’s new Joint Master’s degree program with MIT.

In 1989 Charles Hollister moved from Dean to Vice President of the Corporation and Associate Director of External Affairs. WHOI Director and 1972 Joint Program graduate, Craig Dorman, served as Acting Dean until August 1990. As Dorman wrote in the WHOI 1989 Annual Report,

Education at WHOI has started to take on a new dimension during 1989. Building on the solid base that Charley [Hollister] and Jake [Peirson] and the Education Office have established, we intend to keep the Joint Program the best in the world, to make opportunities to participate in education more readily available to a large segment of our staff, and to increase our outreach activities, while strengthening our ongoing fellowship programs. 10

A Joint Program commencement ceremony was held on the Iselin Marine Facility pier as part of WHOI’s 60th anniversary celebrations in June 1990. Thanks to funding from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, students in the Joint Program also experienced the first oceanographic orientation cruise aboard the Sea Education Association’s (SEA) brigantine, Westward , in June. The cruise was extended from seven to ten days and became an annual event. In addition, the new Trustees “ad hoc” Education Committee met to make recommendations to the education program.

The report of the MIT/WHOI Joint Advisory Committee recommended a national search for a new WHOI Dean “of high scientific stature, academic experience and administrative ability, with the responsibility and authority to ensure that the highest academic standards be maintained, to serve as an advocate for the Joint Program and an interface with MIT.” 11 In August 1990, WHOI appointed former WHOI staff member, John W. Farrington, then Michael P. Walsh Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, for the newly created position of Associate Director for Education and Dean of Graduate Studies.

In 1991 the Education Office, along with the Development Committee and the Personnel Office, initiated two significant employee educational activities. The first, a seminar series entitled, “An Introduction to Oceanography,“ was open to all interested employees. The second was a first time offering of five courses at WHOI by the UMass-Lowell Continuing Education Program and made available to WHOI and the community. WHOI also hosted the seventh Deans’ Retreat, which included nine Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. members and five other ocean sciences graduate schools, to evaluate the current state of graduate education in oceanography. In 1991 the Institution also officially dedicated the new Student Center in Clark Laboratory.

In 1992 WHOI hosted the third, week-long College Faculty Workshop, with funding from the Office of Naval Research. Through lectures, seminars and one-on-one visits with the staff and graduate students, the workshops provided an overview of Oceanography, with the goal of developing a network of knowledgeable advisors for undergraduates. Also in 1992, WHOI completed three agreements for cooperative ventures in education with other Southeastern Massachusetts Institutions. Included in these was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) which, three years later in 1995, resulted in a collaboration involving several WHOI staff to provide a course in Marine Environmental Quality for the Academy’s new program in marine safety and environmental protection. In a second MOU with Bridgewater State College, WHOI co-sponsored the 1993 JASON Foundation for Education’s “JASON Project” telepresence learning experience. In the third cooperative venture, WHOI and other institutions inaugurated the Southeastern New England Science and Engineering Education Society (SENESEES), to help strengthen, enrich and stimulate science, technology, and mathematics education. The latter two efforts were discontinued after several years, as WHOI shifted emphasis to other educational programs.

The MIT-WHOI Joint Program celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 1993. The weekend long festivities involved many people long-affiliated with the Program. Amid luncheons, dinners and talks, the event also honored retiring Senior Scientist, Elazar Uchupi, with a special tribute on behalf of all the students that he mentored and taught. In addition, Honorary WHOI Trustee, Ruth Fye, attended a special presentation of the Ruth and Paul Fye Award for Excellence in Research, which recognizes the best student papers. The WHOI Educational Council decided to present five Fye awards for the 25th anniversary, one in each Joint Program discipline. Also in 1993, the National Science Foundation supported the new High School Science Teacher Fellowships, awarded in 1994 to four teachers to experience laboratory research at WHOI. The following year, a grant from Wingwalkers Initiatives brought four new High School Summer Teacher Fellows into the program.

During 1994, a generous endowment challenge grant from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, with increased annual giving from the Devonshire Trust, enabled the Education Office to expand the Postdoctoral Scholar appointments from twelve to eighteen months.

In July 1995, Sallie Chisholm completed her second term as MIT Joint Program Director and was replaced by MIT Professor Marcia McNutt. The elected representatives of the Joint Program’s newly chartered Alumni/Alumnae Association met in the Fall of 1995 to choose officers and plan activities such as fund raising, a website, and career guidance resources.

In 1996, Chris Tapscott, President of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program Alumni/Alumnae Association, announced the establishment of the A. Lawrence “Jake” Peirson III Fund “to support graduate student needs such as travel to scientific meetings and workshops, travel to research cruises or field programs, use of special facilities, and small equipment purchases for thesis research and the like.” Jake Peirson, who had served under every Dean since the start of the Joint Program, retired from WHOI the same year. The responsibilities of the Associate Dean and Registrar were redistributed in a reorganization of the Education Office to include more Scientific Staff in Education Program leadership positions. The Associate Dean position became a six-month-per-year position, and Judy McDowell, Senior Scientist in Biology and former J. Seward Johnson Chair as Education Coordinator, was appointed to the revised position in January 1997. Responsibility for coordinating the Summer Student Fellowship and Minority Traineeship Programs was assigned to the newly created position of the Faculty Coordinator for Summer Programs. Ed Sholkovitz, Senior Scientist and former J. Seward Johnson Chair in the Chemistry Department, was appointed to this new position.

Funding for graduate students for 1996 continued to come from diverse sources. Awards and fellowships supporting students came from NSF (4); ONR (5), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2), a National Defense Science Education Grant (5), NASA (1), the Department of Energy Global Change Program (1), the Ford Foundation (1), and the EPA (5). In addition, a portion of the Paul M. Fye Fellowship Endowment went to two Paul M. Fye Teaching Fellowships at SEA to expand the teaching experience of two Joint Program students. This venture augmented the program’s collaboration with SEA, which included a 10-day orientation SEA cruise for incoming Joint Program students.

During 1997 the first Alfred G. Mayer and Katherine M. Townsend Postdoctoral Scholarship for research in Biological Oceanography, especially for salt marshes, the Great Barrier Reef, and deep ocean ctenophores, was awarded. WHOI also graduated its fourth WHOI-only program doctoral student at a special session of the WHOI Educational Assembly. Other events included a new MIT Director of the MIT Joint Program, Paola Rizzoli, who replaced Marcia McNutt who had moved to a position as President of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

During 1998 the MIT/WHOI Joint Program celebrated its 30th anniversary. During the series of events, WHOI Director, Robert Gagosian, announced a gift from the Stanley W. Watson Foundation to support graduate fellowships for the Joint Program. Other activities for the year included a new partnership with Turnstone Publishing Group, Inc., to produce books, teachers’ guides, and a website, as curriculum supplements for fourth to eighth graders. WHOI also co-sponsored with the New England Aquarium the “Blue Lobster Bowl” Massachusetts competition in the first National Ocean Science Bowl, a nationwide activity of CORE (Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education). A particularly significant event was an external review of the Joint Program commissioned by Bob Gagosian and MIT Provost, Joel Moses. In its overall assessment, the report stated:

The Joint Program is the top graduate program – or arguably one of the two top programs - in marine science in the world. It consistently draws the most outstanding applicants from both the US and abroad, and…has managed to recruit a consistently high fraction of those admitted. The students encountered by the Review Committee were articulate and highly motivated. The variety of areas of research and training that they represented was laudatory, as was the quality of their research. The more than 500 alumni and alumnae include many of the scientific leaders of Oceanography.” 12

Although the cornerstone of the Education Office is the Joint Program in Oceanography, WHOI also offers special study and training programs. The two longest-running programs, the Summer Student Fellowship program and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics summer program, began in 1959, a year after Paul Fye became WHOI’s fourth Director. The Summer Student Fellowship (SSF) Program enables undergraduates to pursue an independent research project, chosen by the fellow, under the guidance of a member of the research staff. The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) ten-week summer program brings together students and researchers from a variety of backgrounds and promotes an exchange of ideas among the many distinct fields that share a common interest in the nonlinear dynamics of rotating, stratified fluids. Up to ten competitive fellowships are available for graduate students. For the GFD graduate student fellows, the centerpiece of the summer is a research project that each fellow pursues under the supervision of the staff.

The 18-month Postdoctoral Scholar Awards carry special recognition at the Institution and are made to further the education and training of new or recent doctorates. Each recipient is encouraged to pursue his or her own research interests in association with a member of the resident staff. For Marine Policy Fellowships, sponsored by WHOI’s Marine Policy Center, emphasis is placed on multidisciplinary research to advance the conservation and management of coastal and marine resources. The work of MPC scholars integrates law, policy analysis, and statistics with WHOI's basic strengths in ocean sciences.

In the mid-1970s the Institution launched a Minority Traineeship Program for undergraduates in an effort to increase ethnic diversity among ocean scientists and ocean engineers in the US. The Program continues to contribute to diversity among the graduate programs and those employed in ocean sciences and ocean engineering in the nation. Traineeships in Oceanography for minority group undergraduates offer special educational opportunities for students enrolled at their home colleges and universities.

In keeping with its mission, the Institution has long contributed to local, state, and national efforts for K-12 science and mathematics education. In 1990 WHOI participated, along with the Falmouth schools and other science, engineering, and education organizations, in formally establishing the Woods Hole Scientific and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP). Its purpose is to support, promote and expand science and technology education and science literacy in the participating communities of Falmouth (including Woods Hole), Mashpee and Bourne, Massachusetts. In addition to WHSTEP, WHOI advises local science educators, as a member of the Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME), and was a founding member of the organization of the Massachusetts Partnerships to Advance Learning in Mathematics and Sciences (PALMS, systemic change in K-12 science and math education). From 1989 to 1995, the Education Office also played a role in coordinating Cape school participation in the activities of the new JASON Project, initiated by Bob Ballard. Throughout its history, WHOI has been host to numerous Guest Students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels, who pursue research projects or thesis research as part of their studies at home colleges and universities.

  1. 1 Frank R. Lillie,The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944), 181.
  2. 2 Ibid, 263.
  3. 3 Memorandum on the Activities of WHOI in Education and the Dissemination of Knowledge, 1 December 1951, 7 pages typescript. In WHOI Office of the Director records, Box 22, f 44, “Exhibits presented to Office of Education, 1955.”
  4. 4 Admiral Edward Smith to William Van Allen Clark, 17 October 1955, in WHOI Office of the Director records, Box 19, f 63, “Educational Program, 1956 (1957, 1959).”
  5. 5 Paul M. Fye, “Memorandum of Immediate and Future Program Needs of the WHOI”, 7, October 1959. Paul M. Fye Papers [unprocessed], Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives, Woods Hole, Mass.
  6. 6 Robert W. Morse, “Dean’s Report,”Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Annual Report 1978 (1979): 31
  7. 7The Director’s Forty-ninth Report to the Members and Trustees 1978 (22 June 1978): 6.
  8. 8 Paul M. Fye, ”Fellowship Program, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,” November 1958 [p.8]. Paul M. Fye Papers [unprocessed], Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives, Woods Hole, Mass.
  9. 9 Robert W. Morse, “Report of the Dean of Graduate Studies,”Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Annual Report 1976 (1977): 35
  10. 10 Craig E. Dorman, “Acting Dean’s Report,”Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [Annual Report] 1989 (1990): 51.
  11. 11 Ibid., 50.
  12. 12 John W. Farrington, “Dean’s Report,”Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1998 Annual Report (1999): 30.

Further reading

Further reading

  1. References for additional and more in-depth information about the Education Office can be found in the following sources:
  2. Education Office history reference files
  3. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Annual Reports
  4. “Dean’s Report: The Joint Program A Decade Later,” by Robert W. Morse, in Forty-ninth Report of the Director to the Members and Trustees, 1978
  5. Woods Hole Currents, 1995 Fall issue, provides an in-depth view of the Summer Student Fellowship Program.
  6. Woods Hole Currents, v.8, no. 3, 1999, features articles and photographs on the MIT/WHOI Joint Program
  7. Education Office news releases, and anniversary and commencement brochures (located in Subject Files, “Publications” folders)
  8. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Fellowship Program, October 1959 (box 69, f. 8) describes the history and needs of the program from its start in 1930 up to 1959.
  9. Forthcoming is the Report of Eligibility for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) submitted to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) and documents to show how WHOI meets each of the sixteen Requirements of Affiliation for accreditation with the New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC).

Chronological History of the Joint Program

Chronological History of the Joint Program

WHOI Trustees approved “Joint Program Format” with both MIT and Harvard (Weisner/Brooks/Fye)
WHOI authorized to grant Graduate Degrees (Commonwealth of Massachusetts)
MIT/WHOI Joint Memorandum of Agreement signed (Johnson/Fye)
First class admitted in Physical Sciences (Press/Emery)
K. O. Emery, appointed Acting Dean of Graduate Studies
H. Burr Steinbach, appointed Dean of Graduate Studies, September 1
Joint MIT/WHOI Education (“Deans”) Committee established (Sizer/Steinbach)
Ocean Engineering added to Joint Program disciplines (Keil/Daubin)
WHOI Trustees approved WHOI-only Ph.D. (Fye)
Harvard/WHOI Cooperative (cross registration) Agreement signed (Dunlop/Steinbach)
Biological Oceanography added (Luria/Teal)
Brown University/WHOI Cooperative (cross registration) Agreement signed  (Hornig/Fye)
Robert W. Morse appointed Dean of Graduate Studies
John Schlater appointed Director of Joint Program at MIT
Joint Committee of Department Chairs replaces “Deans” Committee (Weisner/Fye)
Expansion in Engineering to include MIT departments (Baggeroer/Frosch)
Charles D. Hollister appointed Dean of Graduate Studies
Joint Program “10 Year” Review (Wadleigh/Hollister)
Institute-wide MIT Joint Program Office established (Schlater)
Reorganization of Committee Structure, establishing five discipline committees (Sclater/Hollister)
Reintroduction of Navy initiative (Baggeroer/Hollister)
MIT/WHOI Microwave Link established (Baggeroer/Hollister)
Approval of Joint SM Degrees (Baggeroer/Hollister)
External Advisory Committee Review (Chisholm/Dorman)
Craig E. Dorman self-appointed Dean of Graduate Studies
Introduction of Sea Education Association indoctrination cruise (Dorman)
John Farrington appointed Associate Director for Education & Dean of Graduate Studies at WHOI (Dorman)
25th Anniversary Celebration of the Joint Program (Chisholm/Farrington)
Approval of Joint Masters of Engineering Degree (Rizzoli/Farrington)
External Advisory Committee Review (Rizzoli/Farrington)

(taken from the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, 1968-1998, WHOI MIT, September 25-27, 1998, Cambridge Woods Hole)


152.5 Linear Feet (122 boxes)


The Education Office records consist of ephemera, correspondence and memoranda, student files, organizational charts, certificates, reports, guides, celebratory materials, brochures, programs and other activities. Also included are some files from the Marine Policy Center.


The Education Department files are organized into seven series. The Chronological Files of Administrators and Student/Participant Files contain subseries grouped by administrator or by student type/program, respectively.

Custodial History

The Education Office files were received in multiple accessions; see the accessions database for more information.

In September 2000, a palette of Education files found in the WHOI warehouse was sent to the Archives (accession 2000-23). The bulk of the material was returned to the Education Office with the exception of the chronological and subject files.

Acquisitions Information

The Education Office files were received in the WHOI archives at various times from the 1970s to the present. Earlier accessions that had not received accession numbers were in numbered boxes: 60-68, 70-71, 417, D-109, and L-130. Later accessions dated from 1990-1999 were given accession numbers: 90-24, 94-5, 94-10, 94-21, 94-30, 95-1, 95-21, 95-23, 95-25, 95-28, 95-29, 95-31, 97-27, 99-3, and 99-16. In the late 1980s the archives received 25 VHS tapes from the College Teachers’ Workshop on Oceanography, held June 21-27, 1987. The tapes are stored in the Film Vault.

Acc.2009-32 was received on July 28, 2009 from Janet Fields, and the folder listing was added to the Student/Participant Files series as Subseries 17. Acc.2010-28 and 2010-29 were received in December 2010 and the folder listings were added to the Student/Participant Files series as Subseries 18 and 19.

Related Material

The Education Office maintains reference files that document the activities and history of the department. In addition, the Office of the Director records (AC 9) and of the Trustees & Members of the Corporation (AC 1) contain numerous files about the Education Office.

Visual images depicting graduations and other activities of the Education Office are found in the WHOI Archives image collections.

Separated Material

Twenty-five VHS tapes from the College Teachers’ Workshop on Oceanography, held June 21-27, 1987, are stored in the Film Vault. Information about the workshop can be found Series 2.

Two photographs of attendees at the 1991 Ocean Sciences Education Retreat at WHOI were removed from Series 2 Deans’ Retreat 1991, and added to the WHOI Archives’ “Photographic Files – Events” collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Nancy Kougeas and Margot Garritt.

Publications, including ephemera, brochures, articles and reports were removed from files and made into a separate series. In addition, numerous publication materials of the Education Office that were found in other collections were added to the series.

For the Subject/Participant Files, information about specific students was removed when possible. Original folders were retained, overstuffed files were split into two or more folders, and metal clips were removed although staples were not.

For the remaining series, folders were replaced with acid-free folders and folder headings were transcribed on to the acid-free folders. Metal fasteners were removed, and acidified items and fragile items were photocopied on acid-free bond paper. Files for all the series were removed from oversized or acidic boxes and placed in acid-free boxes. Boxes were numbered, and a folder list was generated.

A Guide to the Education Office records, 1930-2006 (Bulk 1959-1999)
Nancy Kougeas and Margot Garritt
November 2000
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish

Repository Details

Part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Data Library and Archives Repository