Engaging the Public and Policymakers
University of Maine
Tuesday, May 14 – Friday, May 17
9am – 12pm and 1pm – 3pm
This course is free and open to any campus participant.
To register for the course, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This four-day workshop introduces scientists, engineers, social scientists and related professionals to research and strategies for more effectively engaging the public and policymakers on sustainability-related issues. Participants will be introduced to different schools of thought, modes of practice, and areas of research relevant to navigating the intersections among science, policy, and communication. They will also gain an integrated understanding of the institutions, organizations, and actors involved in public communication and policymaker engagement; and the different roles they can play as experts, professionals and educators. Blending seminar-style discussion with strategic exercises and scenario building, the workshop will focus on common themes and linkages relative to debates over climate change, energy technologies, marine and environmental conservation, food biotechnology, aquaculture, and other issues.
Preparing for the Workshop
Approximately 25 graduate students, faculty and staff are registered for the workshop, reflecting a diverse set of fields and disciplines including climate science, ecology, marine science, civil engineering, journalism, communication, and economics. This diversity will provide a rich context for discussion, the sharing of ideas, and collaboration. The first three days of the workshop build toward the final day in which we will think through and discuss examples of possible interdisciplinary programs, partnerships and activities that engage state, national and international publics, stakeholders and decision-makers.
Click on a day and topic below to find a reading list, related videos and discussion questions. In preparing for each morning or afternoon session, make sure to carefully read at least 2-3 of the assigned readings and to skim the others. The great majority of readings are only a few pages in length. Most importantly, think in advance about each of the relevant discussion questions. For Day 2 Wednesday, make sure to come prepared with a draft “message box” specific to your research or issues that you work on.
DAY 1 TUES:
DAY 2 WED:
DAY 3 THURS:
- Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change. This journal edited by Mike Hulme provides state-of-the-art synthesis articles and reviews addressing the full spectrum of interdisciplinary research related to climate change with specific sections addressing public attitudes, opinion, communication, the media, and policy.
- E & E News. This subscription daily news service is accessible through your university library system. By signing up for daily emails, you can followed specialized news by way of ClimateWire; EnergyWire; GreenWire; and E&E News Daily.
- Climate Access and Talking Climate. These web sites devoted to archiving, highlighting and translating new research and studies related to climate change communication and public engagement.
- Sociological Abstracts. This library-based database archives major interdisciplinary journals where research on topics related to public attitudes, opinion, communication and public engagement relative to climate change, the environment, and energy technologies can be found.
- Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Environmental Communication, Climatic Change, Nature Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, Energy Policy and Risk Analysis. These are strong interdisciplinary journals that should be go to sources when searching for specific studies related to communication, media coverage, public engagement, public opinion or public attitudes related to climate change, the environment, or emerging energy technologies.
- Reading lists for Sustainability Communication and Advanced Media Theory courses. See these reading lists from graduate courses I have taught on related subjects for a fuller list of relevant studies and resources, grouped by topic.