Fall Institute

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
2012 Fall Institute
October 12-14

Goals

The Fall Institute is intended primarily for university administrators and faculty members who want to move their own institutions toward a greater focus on communicating science to the public. Its primary goals are to share the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science’s experiences, techniques, materials, and lessons learned, to help inspire and facilitate efforts by others; to learn from others who are active or interested in this field, and to begin building a network of universities committed to improving public communication of science.

The format of the session will be similar to that of Alda Center’s 2011 Summer Institute, which brought together faculty members and administrators from 27 institutions in 20 states, as well as Australia and Greece. Participants were a diverse and enthusiastic group, full of ideas and energy, who inspired each other, and us. One-third were scientists; the rest came from fields that included theater, communications, writing, education and professional development. As intended, participants’ primary motivation was not to improve their own communication skills but to learn ways to improve science communication training on their own campuses.  In a video below, some of the participants talk about what they gained from attending.

Since then, the Alda Center has been teaching and expanding our roster of graduate courses, and traveling to deliver workshops to universities and science organizations around the country.  A list of some of our previous workshop appearances can be seen here.

Activities

Participants will undergo the kind of small-group, interactive training that the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science has been providing for science graduate students and postdocs. This training will include sessions in Improvisation for Scientists, Distilling Your Message, and Dealing with the Media. In addition, the program will include presentations and discussions about best practices, the role of science communication, and strategies for initiating or expanding science communication training on campus.

Rave Reviews from Summer Institute, 2011

“I am leaving inspired and encouraged to take this message home. So good to know I’m not alone!”

Elissa Yancey, University of Cincinnati

“I postponed a high mountain trip to Peru to come here, and I have not regretted it for one second.”

John Calderazzo, Colorado State University

“Lots of ideas, energy and engagement. Clearly you all are thinking about this in a smart way. Willingness to share is huge. Great thinking outside the box and it’s key that you have so many expert practitioners involved. That makes a huge difference.”

Kathy Wallace, Ohio State University