Advisory Board and Steering Committee Provide Valuable Input

The center’s  advisory board met with us May 4 and its steering committee June 14, and both groups asked helpful questions, let us know about resources and groups on and off campus who may be helpful to or interested in the work of the center, and spent some time getting to know one another.

The advisory board includes graduate student representatives (Darren Maczka, Kiersten Formoso, and Sihui Ma); faculty members (Bruce Hull and Todd Schenk); and community expert in communicating science (digital editor for American Scientist Katie Burke).

Topics that came up at the advisory board meeting included

  • possibilities for working with VT GATE (the Graduate Academy of Teaching Excellence) and the teaching fellow program of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • planning a seminar series for topics related to communicating science, including policy, politics, ethics, the responsibility of scientists, the philosophy of science, and more;
  • collaborating with researchers to initiate research related to assessment of approaches; and
  • exploring ways to address the gap between researchers of science communication and practitioners of science communication.

The steering committee includes Karen Roberto, the director of the Institute for Science, Culture and Environment (ISCE), in which the Center for Communicating Science is housed; deans of the colleges of science and liberal arts and human sciences and of the graduate school, Sally Morton, Rosemary Blieszner, and Karen DePauw; the vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs, Rachel Holloway; the vice provost for inclusion and diversity, Menah Pratt-Clarke; Tracy Vosburgh, senior associate vice-president for university relations; the director of the School of Performing Arts, then Susanna Rinehart; and department heads from the colleges of science and of liberal arts and human sciences, Peter Haskell (mathematics) and Daniel Breslau (science and technology in society). Karen DePauw was unable to attend the meeting.

We reported our activities of the past year to the steering committee and asked them for help with four specific questions:

  • Where is our work most needed on campus and in the wider world?
  • Should “training the trainers” be one of our priorities in our first years?
  • What opportunities for sustainable funding/resources exist?
  • What industry or community partners might committee members connect us with?
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