Tessa Hill: We need to talk (about science)

Inscription on the wall of the National Academies Keck building, Washington, D.C.
This post was originally published on Medium on March 9, 2016. It is re-posted here with the permission of the author.

Tessa Hill is an Associate Professor at University of California, Davis studying ocean biogeochemistry. She is a AAAS Public Engagement Fellow and teaches courses on oceanography, climate science and science communication.

I recently offered a course at UC Davis on Science Communication (specifically targeting Ocean, Climate, and Environmental Science) with a genuinely exceptional group of graduate students. During the course, we hosted eight outside experts working in communications, policy, and media to chat with our class. We also read an excellent book, used available online resources (this, and this for example), pored over several examples of great #SciComm, practiced mock interviews and policy briefings, and even recorded our own in-class podcast. When I look back at recurrent themes and advice, what just kept popping to the surface? Read on. [Read more…]

5 Steps For Integrating #SciComm Into STEM Graduate Education

Last month, an article in The Atlantic stated, “Beginning this year, the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT] will contain questions involving human behavior and psychology, a recognition that being a good doctor “requires an understanding of people,” not just science.”  The same is true of being a good scientist. Understanding people is essential for succeeding in everything from teaching, collaboration, and grant writing to media interviews, public engagement, and Congressional testimony.

Yet traditional training in medicine, science, engineering, and other technical disciplines is not helping students to develop the suite of communication skills they need to succeed. How should graduate training shift to better equip STEM professionals for their future careers? [Read more…]

Balancing Act: Finding A Place For Policy Engagement

balance2

Academics are hearing the message loud and clear that society needs what they have to offer. In Nicholas Kristof’s recent provocative column, “Professors, We Need You!,” he admonishes professors not to “cloister yourselves like medieval monks,” but at the same time, acknowledges the real challenges posed by “a culture that glorifies arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and audience.”

At COMPASS we often hear a sincere desire from scientists to make their work relevant in societal dialogues. But we also hear that the nature of many academic jobs often makes that engagement an add-on, rather than an integral part of their workload and process for review and promotion. As Chad wrote in his last post, scientists can learn how to make the most of the time they spend engaging, honing their skills to maximize the value they can bring to policy dialogues once they’ve begun. But the problem remains, how do you balance expectations of academic culture with the time it takes to make a valuable contribution in a policy space? [Read more…]

1/10/13 Link Round-up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Welcome to this week’s link round-up! COMPASS has been busy collecting some interesting news articles and posts that run the gamut from climate change to teaching, photography to dinner table conversation. [Read more…]