#GradSciComm: Rolling Up Our Sleeves

This post is co-authored by Erica Goldman and Liz Neeley.

As we’ve written here and here, over the past year, COMPASS has worked to assess the current landscape of communication trainings available to graduate students in the STEM disciplines. We’ve dubbed this project #GradSciComm, and it has included building a community-sourced database that provides some insight into the current content and capacity of workshops and courses – but this is only the beginning of the conversation.

Later this week, at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C., four COMPASS staff – Nancy Baron, Brooke Smith, Erica Goldman, and Liz Neeley – will facilitate discussion among a select group of scholars, trainers, funders, institutional leaders, and graduate students as they consider the results of our work to date and wrestle with where we go from here.

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We will continue to add graduate science communication trainings to our list (click to see full set). If you know individuals or institutions we should include, please let us know. For a list of university courses, see Pat Logan’s database.

Reforming graduate education is grand challenge, but it’s a movement with serious momentum behind it. Federal agencies, professional societies, and graduate-led efforts are hard at work, including the National Institutes of Health, Council of Graduate Schools, American Chemical Society, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Education Modernization Challenge, to name a few. The need for better professional skills training comes up in nearly every conversation. And improved communication skills is just one among many needs.

#GradSciComm aims to take a bite of this much larger apple of graduate education reform. This workshop will take us the first few steps down the path of developing a roadmap for building national capacity for communication skills as a subset of the professional skills that graduate students need. When we emerge at the other end, we’ll need your help. Keep an eye out for an opportunity to provide comments on the draft roadmap and share your thoughts. To get you thinking, consider questions such as:

  • How do we define science communication?
  • What comprises a core competency?
  • How should we evaluate whether a course has been successful?
  • Whose responsibility is it to pay for this type of instruction?

We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon. For now, let the hard work begin!

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1255633. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
About Liz Neeley

Liz was an Assistant Director of Science Outreach at COMPASS.

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