Many of these resources are adapted from a series of public engagement workshops that covered: framing your message to be accessible, including for your government representatives; how effective engagement (and public policy) is founded on social connection; the diversity of ways scientists engage; as well as broader context for public engagement in academia and the science of science communication. These resources are curated by and courtesy of Dr. Tessa Solomon-Lane, Dr. Alexa Warwick, Dr. Travis Hagey, and Dr. Hans Hofmann on behalf of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Huge thanks to Dr. Tessa Solomon-Lane for sharing these resources with our community.
Public engagement encompasses all types of communication between STEM professionals and the public about STEM topics, which often intersect science and society. Public engagement takes many forms (e.g., face-to-face in K-12 classrooms and in communities; producing media, giving interviews, affecting public policy) that serve a wide range of goals, from sharing research outcomes to increasing trust in scientists, diversifying STEM, increasing science funding, advocating for a specific policy, making the world wiser and healthier, and more. Engagement is also fun and energizing! More than ‘outreach,’ engagement recognizes that conversations with the public are multi-directional, with value both both the public and STEM professionals.
Many consider public engagement a professional responsibility and civic duty, and it is expected by many funding agencies. Importantly, research shows that engagement also develops critical professional skills, including enhanced communication, teaching, and leadership skills, and an enriched understanding of one’s own research and field. However, most STEM professionals are not taught evidence-based best practices for engaging effectively with diverse publics. In the long-term, public engagement training must be integrated into the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral curriculum and valued in hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions.
Calls to action and approaches to engagement:
Articles with how to’s & recommendations: