Every member of the university community possesses specialized knowledge. UVM Communicates provides hands-on experiences to help faculty and students better communicate their expertise with the public, the media, public officials, and others outside their own discipline.
"All the instructors were so engaging and so skilled at providing feedback."
"The workshop was not only enjoyable but very useful in helping me realize how to effectively communicate my engineering research to a wider audience."
"The improv workshop illustrated how to communicate in a very effective and memorable way. The whole day was really useful."
"Trying to explain science to nonscientists in the flesh not as easy as it looks. Worth the time investment for sure."
I have been using the skills and narrative from the workshop to talk about my research. It is really rewarding to have people understand what I do and be excited about it.
- You're at an event and you meet a representative from the NSF (or NEH or NEA) who asks about your research or scholarship. Can you effectively communicate your work in three minutes without all the jargon?
- Your research or scholarship is receiving accolades and you've been invited to talk about it on the local news. How do you speak about your discoveries for the viewing public in a clear and concise manner?
- The grant you are working on requires a three-minute video of yourself explaining your research or scholarship. Can you put together a clear and vivid explanation in terms someone outside your discipline can understand?
Learning to connect personally and pay attention to an audience promotes better understanding of the meaning and implications of scholarship. In addition, excellent communication skills develop career potential: learning to communicate with the public supports effective teaching, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and writing.
UVM Communicates has designed a day-long workshop for faculty. Workshops are limited to sixteen participants who are asked to come prepared with a three-minute speech about their research or scholarship.
The morning consists of a brief plenary followed by a series of fun improvisation exercises. These exercises are not designed to turn faculty into actors, but to explore ways of talking more personally about research or scholarship while establishing a more direct connection with the audience. After lunch, the workshop turns its focus on distilling the message, and faculty work in small groups to refine their pre-prepared three-minute speeches.
Who We Are
UVM Communicates is an affiliate of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, established in 2009 at Stony Brook University.
Our workshop instructors trained at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and include:
- Susanmarie Harrington, Director, Writing in the Disciplines; Professor, English
- Donna Rizzo, Professor, Engineering
- Sarah Carleton, Associate Professor and Resident Director, Theatre
- Craig Wells, Director, UVM Communicates; Lecturer, Theatre