1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »New program offers faculty a chance to polish science communication skills

K-State Today

February 28, 2017

New program offers faculty a chance to polish science communication skills

Submitted by Sarah Hancock

Science communication is more important than ever, and a new program is offering K-State faculty members an opportunity to develop their skills.

Sunset Zoo, the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development, and the K-State Graduate School are offering a science communication training to faculty and researchers, including postdoctoral fellows. The workshop will take place from 12:30-4:30 p.m. March 11 with a Tallgrass Taphouse-sponsored reception to follow from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Interested faculty members must fill out a simple application by 5 p.m. March 6; participants will be notified of acceptance into the training on March 8.

Sunset Zoo is offering the workshop as an expansion of its popular Behind the Science program. The program has received support from the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services Grants.

"Behind the Science is a growing collaboration between Sunset Zoo, K-State researchers, and various departments and colleges around campus. This initiative furthers Sunset Zoo's mission by promoting science literacy among the community, and it furthers K-State's 2025 plan through innovative outreach opportunities," said Jared Bixby, Sunset Zoo curator of education.

"By participating in this training opportunity, researchers will gain insights into public engagement strategies used by informal education institutions, like Sunset Zoo and the Pacific Science Center," Bixby said.

The new training will prepare participants to connect with community audiences outside of academia to help broaden the impact of their research. Participants will join a network of certified science communication fellows who engage in Sunset Zoo's facilitated public programs such as Science on Tap. Science on Tap was previously open only to the zoo's Science Communication Fellows, a communication training program specifically geared toward graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Michael Herman, associate dean of academic affairs and research at the K-State Graduate School, professor of biology and co-director of the Ecological Genomics Institute, is glad to see enhanced support for faculty to learn more about science communication.

"Over the last few summers, the zoo provided the excellent Science Communication Fellows program for our graduate students to learn how to communicate science to the public," Herman said. "I am excited that faculty will now be able to learn these critical skills. Given the current assault on science, it is especially important for us to connect with our community."

The workshop is open to faculty and postdoctoral researchers from all disciplines. Read more about the program.