Health Debates, Communication, and Culture

Course Web Site

In this course, analyzing several major public health debates, students will learn about the relevant scientific, political, and ethical dimensions of each case; the generalizable theories, frameworks, and methods that scholars use to analyze them; and the implications for effective public communication, policymaker engagement, and personal decision-making. Assignments include facilitating class discussion, short analysis papers, an annotated bibliography, and a research paper on a relevant topic of the student’s choosing. By the end of the course, students will have gained an integrated understanding of the different roles they can play in public health debates as professionals, advocates, and consumers. In doing so, they will have improved their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; and author evidence-based research papers.

Environmental Politics, Communication, and Advocacy

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In this course, advanced undergraduate and Masters-level students are introduced to different schools of thought, modes of practice, and areas of research relevant to engaging the public and society on climate change and related environmental issues.  Students will 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 professionals, educators, and advocates. Blending seminar-style discussion with strategic exercises, the course focuses on common themes and linkages relative to debates over climate change, the siting of wind and solar power; the transport and development of natural gas and oil; the regulation of geo-engineering and food biotechnology; the transition to local economies and food/energy systems; the transformation of urban spaces and transportation infrastructures; and the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystem services, to name just a few examples.

The Civic Science Lab 

Workshop Web Site

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 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.