Workshop: Communication and advocacy in science

March 22, 2019

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and Geography's 2019 Distinguished Speaker will  facilitate a workshop on March 22nd, followed by lunch.

Date/Time: Friday March 22nd, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm (including lunch)
Location: Saywell Hall 10051
Title: Communication and advocacy in science
Lunch will be provided.
Space in this workshop is limited. Registration is required to attend.

Abstract:  In recent years, with the rise of social media, many more scientists are becoming public communicators but sometimes have an incomplete or exaggerated view of the risks to both their public and professional reputations as a function of their advocacy. In politicized fields such as climate science, these communications can attract disproportionate attention. I argue that public statements in such a situation are inevitably advocacy for some position, view, or outcome. However, rather than suggesting that scientists avoid advocacy in a misplaced attempt to remain objective, I recommend that scientists be explicit about the combination of values and science that drives their views, and discusses the ways scientists can ensure that their advocacy remains responsible. The risks of advocacy are fundamentally related to the degree to which values are shared between scientists and their audiences. An encapsulation of the connections between risks, advocacy, and values in engagement may help inform the choices that public scientists must make.