Each year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) awards a select number of individuals with the title of a Lifetime National Associate in the NASEM. This year, Dietram Scheufele, LSC professor and Taylor-Bascom Chair in Science Communication, was one of the few who received this honor in recognition for his exceptional commitment to service and vast expertise he has provided to the organization over the past decade.
“It is really nice to see that work acknowledged,” Scheufele stated in reference to his countless hours pro bono in service to NASEM and the nation.
Scheufele’s work with NASEM began in 2008 when he co-authored a report that focused on changing the public’s understanding of engineering. Since then he has co-chaired numerous committees and served on boards, such as the Division on Earth and Life Studies Advisory Committee, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Advisory Committee, and the Board on Health Sciences Policy. Additionally, Scheufele has organized four different colloquia for NASEM on the science of science communication to create a greater research base for the science communication field.
Collaborating with these groups has allowed Scheufele to highlight the importance of the science of science communication when working with other disciplines on solving wicked societal issues. “I’m hopefully able to bring social scientific expertise, and the work we do here in LSC, to fields like the medical field in the health sciences policy board, or to fields like earth and life studies,” he explained.
His time with NASEM and its members has also expanded the type of research Scheufele conducts, much of it centered on issues with broad societal relevance and impacts on policy decisions. Much of it has been supported by extramural funding that benefits the university and supports many of the graduate students he works with. This funding not only creates research infrastructure at UW but also ties directly to the educational mission of the university.
The connections Scheufele has made and the findings from his research program have been tremendously useful to the classes he teaches at UW-Madison. Currently, he offers a large undergraduate class, LSC251: Science, Media and Society. The course changes constantly based on new research and new information Scheufele brings to the classroom through his work with NASEM. “The research is there to be shared and taught,” he explained. “I think [LSC] 251 is a better and more exciting class because of it.”
“It’s great to see Dietram recognized for his commitment to science communication excellence!” said LSC professor and chair Dominique Brossard. “At LSC, we are committed to helping the nation by making its expertise available to high profile organizations such as the National Academies [of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine].”
Congratulations, Dr. Dietram Scheufele!
Story by Jessica Knackert, LSC B.S. ’20 and LSC’s 2019-20 Lenore Landry Scholar