Building a Science Communication Culture: One Agency’s Approach

Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:30 AM
Sarah DeWitt, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, United States, Laura F Tenenbaum, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Burbank, CA, United States and Laura Betz, Telophase Corporation, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Science communication does not have to be a solitary practice. And yet, many scientists go about it alone and with little support from their peers and organizations. To strengthen community and build support for science communicators, NASA designed a training course aimed at two goals: 1) to develop individual scientists’ communication skills, and 2) to begin to build a science communication culture at the agency. NASA offered a pilot version of this training course in 2014: the agency’s first multidisciplinary face-to-face learning experience for science communicators. Twenty-six Earth, space and life scientists from ten field centers came together for three days of learning. They took part in fundamental skill-building exercises, individual development planning, and high-impact team projects. This presentation will describe the course design and learning objectives, the experience of the participants, and the evaluation results that will inform future offerings of communication training for NASA scientists and others.