In Spring Semester 2020, Dr. Angela Potochnik and Dr. Melissa Jacquart piloted a course on public engagement with science to an interdisciplinary group of PhD and Masters students at the University of Cincinnati.
The students, who came from graduate programs in anthropology, biology, geology, philosophy, professional writing, and sociology, worked in interdisciplinary teams on projects with local partner organizations. The resulting projects included:
- A discussion hosted with the Mercantile Library on Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind and the science of psychedelics; see here (link)
- A poster contest with the Cincinnati Nature Center for area K-12 students encouraging Cincinnatians to plant native; see here (link)
- A science activity kit for middle school and high school classrooms on local fossils and the science of paleontology for the UC Field Station; see here (link)
- A DIY installation for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Center for Pediatric Genomics of the Smithsonian exhibit “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,” including DIY panels on local research about genomics and race and how social influences impact genomics research; see here (link).
Earlier in the course, students practiced their hands at discourse with a broad audience by developing and videoing a short description of their research. See here for an example video, refined after class feedback (link).
The course also delved into topics like the science of science communication, pedagogical theory, and the role that philosophy can play in public engagement endeavors, including panels of visiting experts on community partnerships (link) and social media and science communication (link).
See here for the full syllabus for the course: