“LSC in the Lab” is a new course offered this fall addressing issues of science and communication in the 21st century. The seminar offers a unique setting for graduate students from Life Sciences Communication and from various science departments to interact. The students act as observers to science labs and communication research groups; they meet with science writers, and engage in discussions about how science and communication intersect.
One of the goals of the course is to create a final report regarding the state of science communication on the UW-Madison campus. The report will be generated by the class and be based on the students’ observations of research being conducted on campus.
LSC Associate Professor Dominique Brossard is teaching the course and is a long-time advocate for more science communication courses on campus. She also serves as LSC’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, and is committed to improving education in science communication in both undergraduate and graduate curricula. “This provides a unique opportunity for communication and science graduate students alike to realize that we are all members of the public,” she said. “ In that way, the students experience firsthand how researchers communicate their work, Science and social science students can engage in a constructive dialogue about communicating science effectively.”
LSC doctoral students Ashley Anderson and Jill Hopke are also helping coordinate the course.
Enrolled students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including entomology, oncology, molecular and environmental toxicology, professional communications, and communication research. Course objectives are to raise awareness among the students regarding the connections between processes of scientific knowledge creation, applied communication theory, public perceptions of science, and public policy about science.