Transforming Graduate Education Through Philosophy & Public Engagement with Science

Date
Fri May 21st 2021, 12:00 - 1:30pm
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Prof. Melissa Jacquart. Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Cincinnati and Associate Director for the Center for Public Engagement with Science.  
 
It has recently become widely recognized that how to engage with the public about science is a complex matter. The ‘deficit model’ of the public’s scientific understanding has lost favor; scientists cannot simply communicate more scientific facts in order to improve public understanding of scientific issues. New approaches to public engagement must address the complexity of issues such as trust in science, political polarization, the identities and worldviews of scientists, and understanding scientific methods and their social structure. A parallel problem also exists as academics are increasingly called upon to engage with the public. Despite the complexities surrounding science communication and outreach, most academics receive little or no systematic training in how to engage with public audiences. Graduate programs across the sciences have the potential to address this need for public engagement training, but most programs focus almost exclusively on research. 

During this talk, I will discuss how the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Public Engagement with Science aims to address these challenges and needs. I will first discuss the need for new models for doing outreach and engagement in science, and what philosophy of science in particular can offer these dialogues. I will then detail our Center’s approach to graduate training in public engagement with science, grounded in a philosophy of science perspective. Finally, I will highlight why we think broadening graduate education to include training in outreach and engagement (for STEM fields, but also humanities) will have downstream effects for attracting and retaining underrepresented students, as well as expand career opportunities both within and outside of academia. 
 
Questions? Please contact Sall Tilton (stilto01@stanford.edu) or César Valenzuela (cesarvalenzuela@stanford.edu).