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SEA Semester: for Faculty & Advisors

Educational Philosophy

SEA Semester programs are multidisciplinary learning communities that address the critical environmental issues of our time:

  • Climate Change
  • Sustainability
  • Biodiversity
  • Human Impacts on the Environment
  • Environmental Justice

Acknowledging that human actions underlie environmental change, we realize that these issues must be approached from multiple disciplines, including science, history, culture studies, and policy.

SEA is committed to implementing high-impact student engagement and learning practices described by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in their Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. These include: Common Intellectual Experiences, Learning Communities, Collaborative Assignments and Projects, Undergraduate Research, and Diversity/ Global Learning.

Learning Outcomes

The initial shore component in Woods Hole allows students to develop well-researched projects to bring into the field. Time aboard our ships and in foreign ports of call allows us to take what we learned in the classroom and test it against our observations of the marine environment, natural landscapes, human infrastructures, and the knowledge and opinions of local people.

We stress good communication skills in written work and through oral presentations, both in the early stages of research where ideas can be tested, and at the conclusion of a project, where a mastery of the material can be demonstrated. In addition to research papers and reports, students’ work may be shared with a larger audience through blogs, podcasts, web-based atlases, and social media. SEA faculty have co-published work with students, and presented research with them at professional conferences.

The dynamic environment of our ships, coupled with preparatory coursework on shore in Woods Hole, develops teamwork, problem solving, and leadership skills. These skills are then put into practice in multiple real-world situations. Alumni describe SEA Semester as a transformative experience. More than two-thirds of alumni participating in post-program surveys say SEA Semester increased their self-confidence, and made them effective participants in collaborative teams.