The Alda Center Summer Institute

Thanks to all who took part in our 2014 Summer Institute and made it such a memorable event. We were inspired by the ideas, commitment and generosity of spirit that our 62 participants brought with them to Stony Brook University.

It was our largest Summer Institute so far and our most diverse. During an intense four days, research scientists, communications experts, theater professionals, professional development specialists, physician-educators and university administrators wrestled with the challenges of advancing science communication. Participants came from 26 states, as well as Australia, Finland and Canada, and represented 49 institutions, including universities, medical schools, laboratories, federal agencies, foundations and professional associations.

This year the Summer Institute is from June 8-12, 2015 (Mon-Fri).

To Apply: If you are interested in attending our 2015 Summer Institute, please fill out the application form. If you want more information, please click here.

In this video, participants reflect on the 2014 Summer Institute:

The Goal

Crowd at Summer Institute Our Summer Institutes are intended for university administrators and faculty memberswho want to move their own institutions toward a greater focus on communicating science to the public. Our 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.


Participants will be introduced to Alda Center methods for better science communication, and undergo the kind of small-group, interactive training that we have been providing for science graduate students and postdocs.

Schneider TalkingThis 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.

Sessions will be led by Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science instructors, as well as by distinguished guest presenters, including Alan Alda, a founding member of the center.


The fee for the program, including all meals and instruction is $1,100 per person. Payment in full is required by May 9, 2015. Information about how to pay will be made available soon. Lodging at a reduced rate will be available at The Hilton Garden Inn on campus. Lodging in dorm rooms is also available. More information about lodging costs will be available soon.

Rave Reviews


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


Past Institutes


Summer 2013

The 2013 Summer Institute was held June 11-14. See Summer 2013’s agenda.

Fall 2012

The 2012 Fall Institute was held October 12-14.


The Alda Center’s first Summer Institute in 2011
Summer Institute, 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.

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.

Many thanks to the Kavli Foundation for helping to support the 2015 Summer Institute.

Kavli foundation