Featured alum: Michael A. Cacciatore

Michael A. Cacciatore (PhD) graduated from the Department of Life Sciences Communication during the summer of 2013. While finishing up his doctoral degree he accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the University of Georgia (UGA). Having just completed his first semester in Athens, he reflects on his time in LSC, including how his graduate education contributes to his new job as assistant professor of advertising and public relations. Continue reading

Professor Patty Loew living the Wisconsin Idea

Patty LoewLSC Professor Patty Loew wears many hats. Loew is a popular professor who teaches courses on digital video production, qualitative research methods and Native American environmental issues and the media. She’s also an author, a documentary filmmaker, and a popular public speaker. To say Loew has a full schedule and busy life is a bit of an understatement. Continue reading

Dominique Brossard honored by AAAS

American Association for the Advancement of ScienceThe American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) has announced LSC Professor and Chair Professor Dominique Brossard has been elevated to the rank of fellow. Professor Brossard received the honor “for distinguished contributions to our understanding ofthe role media plays in influencing public opinion and policy about science and technology, particularly controversial scientific innovations.” She will be be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin on Feb. 15, 2014 at the AAAS Fellows Forum in Chicago.

LSC students help Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium companies tell their stories

More than 45 early stage companies spanning products as diverse as medical devices, dairy products, a portable jet ski and a diesel aircraft engine presented to potential investors and others during the 2013 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.

Many of those presentations at Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison took place in the seventh annual Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ Track. It featured presentations from 28 technology-based emerging companies from across the Midwest and each company had seven minutes to present.

LSC Student’s in Tom Still’s LSC 640 Case Studies in the Communication of Science and Technology helped 13 early stage companies tell their stories. You can read the 13 stories here.

LSC professor Bret Shaw co-authors book on health communications

LSC Associate Professor Bret Shaw has co-authored a chapter in a new book titled “Health Communication: Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs.”  The chapter, titled “Developing and Testing Mobile Health Applications to Affect Behavior Change: Lessons from the Field,” focuses on how mobile health (mHealth) applications can be potentially powerful behavioral change tools. The authors share their experiences related to this rapidly expanding field of research and discuss what they have learned about theory-guided design, mobile platform selection, understanding user experience, social and familial implications, feature selection, clinician involvement in design, privacy concerns, keeping up with technological advancement, integrating social media, and provision of hardware to test subjects.”

LSC professor Patty Loew releases second edition of book on the Indian Nations of Wisconsin

Patty LoewCongratulations to LSC Professor Patty Loew on the release of the revised second edition of her book “Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal”. The book, used in classrooms throughout Wisconsin, celebrates and documents the histories, traditions and stories of the state’s Native tribes. You can hear Patty tell the story of this new edition here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uba73I753cY

Research by professor Bret Shaw shows state’s first hunt didn’t reduce tensions over wolves

bret shawMany Wisconsin residents supported the state’s decision to initiate the first managed wolf hunt in state history from October through December 2012, but support varied significantly between people who lived inside wolf range and those who did not, a new University of Wisconsin-Madison study indicates.

The researchers looked at results from two surveys. In 2013, they conducted a mail survey of 772 people living in and outside of areas designated as wolf range, which is predominately the state’s central forest and the northern part of the state. All the respondents who were residents of wolf range had also been asked many of the same questions in a 2009 survey, which allowed researchers to see whether opinions of wolf country residents had changed.

While the state’s wildlife managers had hoped that the 2012 hunt would increase tolerance for wolves, the study suggests that this is not the case – at least, not yet. Fifty-one percent of the wolf country residents surveyed in 2009 had indicated that they would be more tolerant of wolves if people could hunt them. But in 2013, these respondents showed a net shift towards disagreement that their tolerance had risen after the 2012 wolf-hunt.

When examining the entire sample of respondents both inside and outside of wolf range, 37 percent of respondents said they were more tolerant of wolves since people could hunt them.

Very few of the respondents in the 2013 survey felt that their opinions about wolves in Wisconsin had changed since the 2012 hunt. Eighty-one percent said that their tolerance for wolves had not changed, while 14 percent said they were more tolerant and 5 percent said they were less tolerant. There were no significant differences in self-reported changes in tolerance between residents of wolf-range and non-wolf range.

“If one of the goals of the wolf hunt was to increase tolerance for the species, the first season did not appear to accomplish this objective,” says Jamie Hogberg, a graduate student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies who was on the study team.

The researchers also examined support for various restrictions on wolf hunting. Of those living outside of wolf range, 68 percent opposed hunting pups, 61 percent opposed hunting with hounds, 57 percent opposed hunting at night and 61 percent opposed hunting during the breeding and pregnancy seasons.

Among those living in wolf country, 44 percent opposed hunting pups, 36 percent opposed hunting with dogs, 45 percent opposed hunting at night and 37 percent were against hunting during breeding and pregnancy seasons.

Although these results suggest wolf country residents are more lenient about wolf hunting rules, in fact wolf country residents appear to have shifted opinions about these restrictions between the 2009 and 2012 surveys. Opposition to hunting wolf pups and to hunting with dogs both rose 7 percent. Support for restrictions on trapping, baiting, out-of-state hunters, predator calling, and hunting only wolves that caused property damage rose by 3-6 percent. However, since 2009 there was also a similar increase in the number of respondents who said they wanted to be able to hunt wolves without restrictions.

“None of the hunting rules received less support since 2009 and the greatest increases in support surfaced for those restrictions that had received media attention in the last year,” says Adrian Treves, associate professor with the Nelson Institute. “Increased publicity and awareness about the state’s first wolf hunt may have led people to engage on the topic and think about wolf management and the design of the hunt.”

As expected, far more hunters than non-hunters (79 percent vs. 33 percent) approved of the legislative decision to open the 2012-13 wolf hunting and trapping season.

A significant majority of those living in wolf range supported the hunt: 76 percent of respondents approved, while 13 percent disapproved and 11 percent were neutral or did not know. Support for the hunting season among those living outside of wolf range was mixed: 41 percent were in favor, 34 percent were opposed and 25 percent were neutral or did not know.

“While this is not surprising, it may point to the need for educating the public about the state’s wolf management plan along with more dialogue about the issue and making sure all perspectives are heard and considered, including both hunters and the non-hunting public,” says Bret Shaw, associate professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication and environmental communication specialist for UW-Extension.

The research team consisted of Treves, Hogberg, Shaw and Professor Lisa Naughton from the Department of Geography. Financial support came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and UW-Madison.

Top scientists are not afraid to engage with the public in traditional and social media, according to new research by LSC’s SCIMEP lab

Top scientists are not afraid to engage with the public in traditional and social media, according to new research by LSC’s Science, Media, and the Public (SCIMEP) lab published in The Scientist magazine. More importantly, public communication can also help boost their scientific careers. Continue reading