A Test Bed for STEM Graduate Student Communication Training

By Jack Schultz, PI

Scientists are often criticized for not engaging more with the general public, causing a widening gap between what scientists do in the lab and what the lay public understands about science. Most scientists are not trained with communication skills that would help them engage with the general public.

This project brought together a highly interdisciplinary team from biology, physics, strategic communication, journalism, theater, creative writing, and visual design to develop and test the means of evaluating the effectiveness of communication training in graduate programs. The novel pilot drew on communication research outside the sciences and used statistical evaluation of training effectiveness from multiple points of view, including the public’s. The project resulted in tools and procedures graduate training programs could use to assure the quality of communications training, and eventually provide better communication between scientists and others.


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