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ENV 301.25 - Art of Communicating Science

Course Stats

Instructor(s):  Tim Lucas, Dr. Deborah Gallagher, guest lecturers

Units: 1

Semester Offered:  Spring

Satisfies:  Tools, Electives, Social Science


General description

Skills and Career Applications

By the end of the course, students will be able to do the following:

  • Communicate environmental science topics effectively to the popular media in a format that the public understands. 
  • Understand how to present environmental topics to policymakers and to break down complex environmental policies to the public.
  • Compare and contrast different policy memos.
  • Convey their message clearly during live interviews.
  • Identify the tools available to communicate information to the public and explain the context in which each will be most useful.
  • Apply the principles taught during the course in two writing assignments.
  • Analyze popular scientific media excerpts for ability to communicate the information.
  • Learn the steps of how to respond to bad media and misinformation.
  • Explain the do's and don'ts of approaching corporate partners and building relationships.
  • Describe the factors that make environmental campaigns successful.
  • Indicate how and when to use e-advocacy.

Registration Advice

Spring 2009 is the first time this course will be offered.  Permission numbers will be given, first come-first serve, to 6 1st Year MEMs and 2nd Year MEMs. 

Course planning, logistics, and grading are conducted by MEM student teaching assistants.  The course will only be offered in future years if at least 2 students from the class are willing to serve as TA's the following year and plan the curriculum.

Student Opinions

None yet.

The Instructor's Take...

"As future environmental managers, advocates, and policy makers, we will only be as effective in our roles as the ability to communicate information.  Everyday we are faced with the challenges of conveying information to different audiences in an environment where hundreds of other individuals and groups are competing to do the same.  Increasingly there are more tools becoming available that can assist us in distributing information on a global scale, but the most fundamental skill remains the ability to communicate the idea, message, or information in a format appropriate to the intended audience.  Each audience has different concerns and interests and thus connects to the subject matter from a unique perspective.     

During this course, we will learn how to connect, through both the written and spoken word, to a spectrum of audiences as environmental professionals.  This will be accomplished by in-class instruction and discussion, group activities, guest speaker presentations, role-playing, and audio-visual examples. The course will be broken down into five pods: 1) translating science to the popular media, 2) government relations, 3) television and radio communication, 4) corporate communications, and 5) advocacy campaigns and grassroots movements.  This course will satisfy 1 credit of tools for any program area, and as social science credit for non-EEP program areas."  -- Ben Landis and David Palange, Spring 2009 Organizers

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