Scientists and engineers who engage the public have opportunities to advance science and serve society. But they don’t always have the tools they need to formulate actionable public engagement goals to successfully engage key audiences in conversations about critical issues. AAAS Communicating Science workshops provide participants with training and support to effectively engage the public.
AAAS workshops give scientists and engineers opportunities to reflect on their public engagement interests and experience and think critically about what they want to accomplish and how to achieve it. The program addresses the needs of scientists who are motivated to engage but lack the resources to develop their skills and create plans for action.
Workshops combine instruction, discussion, self-reflection, small- and large-group work and structured exercises emphasizing mutual listening, learning, and dialogue. Participants learn about the latest science communication research and public engagement best practices and facilitators guide them through applying the AAAS Public Engagement Framework in planning their own public engagement experiences.
Our interactive, 3-hour workshops help participants build strong foundational skills whether they are new to public engagement or have prior experience and are ready to take their engagement to the next level. Our 1-hour seminars provide an introduction to workshop concepts and the opportunity for participants to ask questions. Workshop, seminar and custom event options are described on our Host a Workshop page.
Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals
The introductory-level, Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals module introduces scientists and engineers to the latest science communication research and basic best practices for engaging with the public. Participants use the AAAS Framework for Public Engagement to develop individual plans that include a public engagement goal and address ways to engage a relevant audience with tailored messages. Participants also brainstorm an engagement scenario and identify next steps to put their plans into action. This workshop is designed for scientists and engineers who don’t have much experience with public engagement, although experienced engagers may find it useful.
Engaging the Public with Social Media
The Engaging the Public with Social Media module guides scientists and engineers through reflection on the state of the evolving social media landscape and their roles in it. Appropriate for both novices and those who are already using social media, participants evaluate their online presence and think critically about how they can use social media to accomplish their public engagement goals. This module combines instruction, guided discussion and individual and group activities and culminates with participants developing comprehensive social media public engagement plans.
Engaging Communities in Climate Conversations
The Engaging Communities in Climate Conversations module guides scientists through the fundamentals of engaging in conversations about climate change, with a focus on impacts and solutions. Participants consider the American public’s attitudes and concerns about climate change and response options, develop actionable goals for engaging around these topics, think carefully about their target audience, and craft science and solution-minded messages that will resonate with that audience. Participants analyze real-world examples of communities responding to climate change and consider how to cultivate similar conversations in their own engagement work.
Engaging the Media
The Engaging the Media module helps scientists plan for engaging with journalists and media consumers. Participants consider how news is reported, the range of audiences and platforms for conveying news, the role of intermediaries such as public information officers, and the benefit of the media as a tool to extend the reach of conversations. With guidance from a facilitator, participants evaluate the newsworthiness of their research and prepare for a planned or hypothetical media engagement. Participants rehearse a media interview, both sitting in the “hot seat” and playing the role of a journalist, broadening their perspective of how the media works.
The Engaging Policymakers module illuminates the policy landscape, illustrating where and how policy happens and the many roles scientists and engineers can play in decision-making. Using the AAAS Public Engagement framework as a guide, participants develop an individual engagement goal, strategically identify a target audience and identify key ideas around which to center conversations. Facilitators guide participants through thinking critically about mechanisms for engaging policymakers, encouraging dialogue and evaluating their activity to inform future engagements. Participants analyze a real-world example that informs their engagement plans.
Engaging People of Faith
The Engaging People of Faith workshop was developed in collaboration with the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program to support inclusive engagement with diverse publics, particularly communities and people of faith. Through guided discussion, participants review the historical and social context for science engagement; how culture, worldview, and identity (including faith) influence ideas about science; and best practices for science engagement on potentially contentious topics. Participants will collaborate with peers on a challenging question or situation to help shape how they approach future public engagement activities with people of faith.
Find out about event options, logistics and pricing on our Host a Workshop page.
Testimonials & Evaluation
Learn from past workshop participants about their experiences at AAAS workshops on our Testimonials & Evaluation page.
Contact us to discuss your organization’s needs.