Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham blogs about the power of narrative in making science memorable.

“You don’t have to think of narrative just as the story of an individual or group of people; you can think more abstractly conflict, complications, and the eventual resolution of conflict as the core of narrative structure.”:




Dave Hansen's presentation

  • Partnerships
    We already have 40+ organizational partners. Most are project-specific – we work with people on a project. We don’t have as many that address broader program issues (supporting positions, for instance).

    • Oregon Open Campus – What do communities need that Extension (or Sea Grant) can provide? We already do more of that than most branches of Extension.¬† Maybe we could get others to contribute to new Sea Grant postions that do open campus and Sea Grant work
    • 4-H – Coastal counties have much more fisheries income than agriculture/woodlots/etc. Why isn’t 4-H doing fisheries programming on the coast? Could we partner on a new Extension position that does marine 4-H but also does Sea Grant work (free-choice learning, etc.)
    • What about coastal economic/social data. Jamie Doyle points out it’s hard to find; others suggest that the retirement of Susan Hanna and other marine economists has left a gap in data gathering, analysis and reporting.


  • Shared positions? (But what the person is doing needs to make sense).
  • Partnerships? (see above)
  • Grants? About 20 percent of Sea Grant Extension FTE is supported by external grants. We need to maintain that just to maintain the status quo. Right now, new Extension positions would happen at the expense of something else in Sea Grant. So we need to find external money.
  • Fees? We don’t like it, but it’s a way to help support the program.


  • What kinds of positions do we need? Where? Who? What do we call them (education? extension? communications? outreach & engagement?)


Example: Climate engagement project – led by communications, involved research, public engagement, and communication products.


  • Time (If I do this, something else won’t get done.)
    • Dave: You can write a proposal that includes money to hire somebody to do (most of) the work (including some of what you do now)
    • Program leaders may be able to help develop proposals; in the long term maybe the program hires someone to do that
  • Incentive (for us? for others to partner?)
  • Clear advantage?

What can Sea Grant do to help lower the barriers to fully integrated projects?

(More discussion tomorrow)

break timeSteve Brandt led a discussion of how to approach the next round of strategic planning

  • Big ideas to promote?
  • New issue areas/goals (e.g. Coastal Tourism)
  • Our own strategy
  • Our process?
    • Tomorrow we’ll talk about forming six internal teams around our key issue areas
  • National time line
    • We have until May to try to influence the national key areas – but it needs to be something we really want, and we’d need to develop support across the network
    • By August, we get the national Strategic Plan and have to conform ours to comply with it.
      • We could wait till we see the national plan and tweak ours to conform;
      • We could start a whole stakeholder process and completely reshape our plan to meet regional needs
      • Or something else


Stick with our independent approach to setting goals and issue areas vs. conforming to the national plan:

Steve Brandt: At present, our goals and issue areas do not match the four national issue areas. This  can make reporting and evaluation difficult.

Current national SG strategic areas

  • Hazard resilient coastal communities
  • Safe and sustainable seafood supply
  • Sustainable coastal development
  • Health coastal ecosystems

Our key issue areas:

  • Community resilience to coastal hazards and climate change
  • Coastal learning and decision making
  • Fisheries and seafood
  • Multiple uses and marine spatial planning
  • Oceans and human health
  • Watersheds and water resources


  • Joe Cone, Pat Corcoran say it’s fine to have our own goals, though it can be can make it hard to report.
  • Flaxen Conway says it’s a lot of work to shoehorn our current and planned efforts into new Oregon goals and objectives.
  • Xan Augerot says we need the kind of issue area complexity we already have in order to generate the kind of research proposals we want to fund.
  • Brian Alleee suggests we stick to our own strategic goals and do some stakeholder testing to make sure they’re still valid, then defend them to the national office.
  • Peter Huhtala says our Oregon-centric approach is valid, and we can continue to fit our activities into the national metrics.
  • Steve Brandt points out that it’s been hard to get research proposals in the Oceans & Human Health area, and that it’s worth reviewing our issue areas to see if they’re still valid.

Steve Brandt – summary of consensus: Continue to form our own goals and issue areas, re-examining to make sure they’re still valid and including some form of stakeholder input.