Public Scholarship

The CFDE offers a number of resources and opportunities throughout the year for faculty interested in engaging non-academic audiences with their scholarly work.

May 7: Science Communication

Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lecture and Q&A
Siouxsie Wiles
Microbiologist and Science Communicator
Head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab, University of Auckland 

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence and the Center for the Study of Human Health 

Tuesday May 7

2:00 p.m.

School of Medicine 110 and via Zoom

In this era of ‘fake news’, ill-informed influencers, and social media algorithms, effective science communication is vital for maintaining public trust and surviving the challenges we face as a species. A microbiologist by training, Siouxsie Wiles has spent more than a decade learning how to be a better communicator, from blogging and podcasting to working with artists and illustrators. When the pandemic arrived, Siouxsie joined forces with cartoonist Toby Morris to make the science of the pandemic clear and understandable. Their award-winning graphics were translated into multiple languages and adapted by governments and organisations worldwide. Siouxsie was one of the BBC’s 100 influential women of 2020, and the 2021 New Zealander of the Year. In her talk, Siouxsie will discuss what her experiences during COVID-19 have taught her about effective science communication.


Public Scholarship Programs

Held every 3 to 4 years, the Public Scholars' Institute is a four-session curriculum for faculty interested in engaging more deeply with various forms of traditional and new media, to heighten the profile and influence of their research and scholarship. 

The institute takes place once per month and is sequentially structured, so that each session builds on the content of the previous one. The intention is to create a community of learners who can continue to support one another after the institute.

The curriculum is hands-on and experiential, with workshops focused on helping participants hone their expertise in each topic area. Each session will be led by an Emory professional with expertise in that particular area, in partnership with a faculty member with significant related experience.  

The four sessions of the curriculum cover the following topics: 

  • Communicating to a General Audience: Exploring best practices for persuasive communication that makes messages memorable for non-specialist readers
  • Your Online Identity and Choosing a Social Medium: Providing online and social media strategies to extend the reach of research and scholarship
  • Media Training (or, How to Become an Expert): Introducing strategies for working effectively with mainstream media outlets and with print/digital reporters
  • Using improvisational theater techniques to engage non-expert audiences with research and ideas in live settings

The CFDE partners with other units on campus periodically to bring the OpEd Project's two-day "Write to Change the World" workshop to Emory. The OpEd Project provides professional training on how to craft and place op-eds, with a mission "to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world." 

The Emory Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing will host the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science for a two-day workshop for Emory faculty in STEM fields in May 2022 (postponed from May 2020 due to COVID-19, the cohort for this workshop was selected in 2020).

On day one of this two-day workshop, Alda Center instructors will guide participants through improvisation exercises to help them become more aware of connecting and engaging with various audiences. Participants will notice a transformation in the way they approach communication, relating to others in a more empathic way. This is the basis for good communication, and the fundamental approach for the Alda Method™.

The second day of training will allow participants time to reflect upon lessons learned from improvisation exercises and begin to apply new skills to refine and practice presenting their work in a new and more engaging way. 

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University advances science and medicine through training in clear and vivid communication. They envision a world that recognizes the wonder and value of science. They value authenticity, honesty, integrity, collaboration, continuous improvement, and commitment to excellence. 

During his 11 years hosting the PBS television series Scientific American Frontiers, Alan Alda realized that the conversational approach he took in interviewing scientists led to a surprisingly spontaneous and vivid presentation of their work. Using improvisational techniques he had learned in 50 years of acting on stage on on-screen, Alda devised The Alda Method™. Since 2009, the Alda Center has used this training methodology to improve the communication skills of thousands of scientists and health professionals throughout the world.

Public Scholarship Funding

The CFDE offers the Public Scholarship Advancement (PSA) fund, a grant program designed to help faculty advance public scholarship-related activities. These grants of up to $2500 are intended to support Emory faculty members interested in moving their research and writing into the realm of public influence. 

Learn more and apply