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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009 - 11:20pm

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Signature of Jeff Cannell


Cultural Education Committee


Jeffrey W. Cannell


Helping Students Graduate: A Conversation with Alan J. Friedman




June 8, 2009




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Issue for Discussion


Alan J. Friedman, Ph.D., will meet with the Cultural Education Committee to discuss how education activities in museums and other cultural institutions can engage students and help them meet the challenge to graduate from high school on time and ready for higher education or a career.


Proposed Handling


              The discussion will take place at the Cultural Education Committee’s June 2009 meeting.


Background Information


Alan J. Friedman is a member of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) governing board and served as Director and CEO of the New York Hall of Science from 1984 to 2006. During his tenure, the Hall of Science inaugurated the Science Career Ladder (SCL) program, an innovative education, employment and mentoring program that provides fun and meaningful work experiences to high school and college students. The program employs 150 students as Explainers and Explainer Interns, who are trained to provide exhibition interpretation, science demonstrations, orientation, workshop support, and visitor interaction for nearly 400,000 visitors each year.

The SCL consists of an elaborate system of training and assessment leading to increased levels of responsibility, pay and skill. High school students can apply to volunteer as Explainer Interns, with the possibility of promotion to a paid position after one semester. College students can apply to become Explainers.


The SCL is designed to benefit not only the visitors and Hall of Science staff, but the greater education community as well. Museums and science centers interested in developing their own Science Career Ladders can apply to become a part of the Science Career Ladder Dissemination Project.


Dr. Friedman consults in the areas of museum development and science communication. Recognition for his work includes the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ Fellow Award, the American Institute of Physics’ Andrew Gemant Award, and the National Science Teachers Association’s Distinguished Informal Science Education Award. Dr. Friedman has consulted and served on panels for the Institute for Museum and Library Services, National Academy of Science, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Department of Education, and the Nobel Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the Merck Institute for Science Education and the Noyce Foundation.


Before coming to New York Dr. Friedman served for two years as Conseiller Scientifique et Muséologique for the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, Paris. From 1973-1984 he was the Director of Astronomy and Physics at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Florida State University and his B.S. in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.




Discuss the role museums and other cultural institutions can play in augmenting formal school-based learning to prepare students for on-time high school graduation and higher education.