LSC’s online summer courses offer rich learning opportunities

Summer is right around the corner, and this summer the Department of Life Sciences Communication is offering four online courses for undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree students. The courses teach both theoretical and applied science communication, granting students from anywhere in the world access to a top-notch academic experience.

LSC’s online summer courses include:

LSC 251: Science, Media and Society, a course for students interested in exploring the intersections of science and society.

In a world of quickly evolving scientific discoveries, LSC 251 helps students understand the relationship between science and the difficult ethical, legal, and societal questions that often arise from emerging technologies. Students will be exposed to key communication theories and be challenged to recognize these frameworks in current public debates. The course is especially relevant for undergraduate students studying the biological sciences, physical sciences, or engineering, as it brings helpful perspective to the relevance of their field in societal conversations. The course will be taught by Kate Rose.

LSC 350: Visualizing Science and Technology, an introductory course on the visual communication of science

LSC 350 surveys principles of design, perception, and cognition, and outlines techniques to portray science in the media.  Students will explore visual communication through illustrated lectures and analyzing visual images in both written assignments and team presentations. The course will be taught by Shiela Reaves.

LSC 432: Social Media in the Life Sciences, an online course surveying the foundations of content marketing.

LSC 432 course examines how social media shape modern interactions. Students will learn to create a social media/digital marketing strategy, understand and leverage various online platforms to create meaningful connections, and measure the impact of their social media practice. By the end of this course, students will have experience using social media and content marketing to promote their brand and add value to other businesses and organizations in their field. The course will be taught by Don Stanley.

LSC 560: Scientific Writing, an introduction to writing about science designed for seniors and graduate students in the sciences, as well as professionals in life science industries.

Students in LSC 560 will learn to improve their writing and communication skills for scientific and lay audiences, exploring traditional journal article and popular science writing formats. The course will be taught by Ron Seely.

You can find more information on each of the courses offered this summer in the UW Course Guide.

LSC joins Planet Forward consortium

In 2018, the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined the Planet Forward consortium, a network of around 20 universities from across the U.S. dedicated to helping up-and-coming storytellers share stories of environmental and sustainability innovations.

Planet Forward is a project of the Center for Innovative Media at George Washington University and was launched in 2009 by Frank Sesno, former CNN correspondent and director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

The Department of Life Sciences Communication spearheaded the effort to bring the project to UW-Madison.

“Planet Forward is a new storytelling outlet for LSC that rewards our students in their passion for the environment and creative new ideas in sustainability,” said LSC professor and director of undergraduate studies Shiela Reaves.

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Science and social media course cuts across disciplines

Science and Social Media. Einstein writes equations and social media icons on chalkboard

The internet is transforming the relationship between science and society. Open-access peer-reviewed journals, scientific blogs and online scientific communities have made science more accessible than ever. At the same time, the ease of online searching and ubiquity of social media has fostered the spread of misinformation and pseudoscience. As a result, social media literacy is increasingly important within the sphere of science.

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John Fett, professor emeritus of life sciences communication, dies at 85

The following is a press release published by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences that has been adapted and republished here.

John Fett, a professor emeritus and former chairman of the Department of Life Sciences Communication who shaped the department’s course for more than three decades, on Jan. 30, 2018. He was 85.
John Fett

Born on May 7, 1932 in Plymouth, Wis., he earned a trifecta of degrees from UW–Madison: a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism (now Life Sciences Communication) in 1961, a M.S. in Agricultural Journalism in 1962 and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication in 1967. He was hired as an instructor at the university in 1962 and joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Journalism as a professor in 1967.

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Spring semester greets students with spectrum of opportunities

Hiram Smith Hall has been quiet over winter recess and LSC is excited to welcome students back for the spring semester. We hope our students have returned to campus feeling restored and invigorated.

This semester will be the first for some LSC students, and the last for many of our seniors. But for all, the new semester brings a host of opportunities.

LSC Students wait for a class in Hiram Smith Hall's Sumner Student Lounge.

LSC Students wait for a class in Hiram Smith Hall’s Sumner Student Lounge.

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LSC’s science communication colloquium is featuring an exciting line-up

This semester’s Life Sciences Communication colloquium is bringing acclaimed speakers from near and far. Over the course of the semester, attendees of the colloquium are hearing from experts in science communication, science policy, sustainability marketing, media sociology, and other interesting areas.

The talks are free and open to the public. Videos are being published shortly after each talk for those unable to attend.

Check out the list of speakers below. You can click the speakers’ names for more information about them.  Read the full post »

Brossard appointed to climate change advisory committee

University of Wisconsin-Madison Life Sciences Communication professor and chair Dominique Brossard has been appointed to an advisory committee that will oversee the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s newly announced Climate Communications Initiative (CCI).

LSC chair Dominique Brossard

LSC chair Dominique Brossard – Photo: Kyle Cassidy

“The National Academies have a vast library of authoritative information to help everyone from savvy citizens to responsible decision makers understand, prepare, and respond to climate change,” said Marcia McNutt, president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.  “This initiative facilitates access to that storehouse to help protect the many sectors of human investment from unnecessary surprises.”

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LSC offers popular science writing course this spring

With so many complex current issues such as climate change, vaccination and gene editing that have not only scientific and technical dimensions, but also ethical and social implications, it has never been more important to communicate about science effectively.

This Spring, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication’s popular course LSC 560: Scientific Writing will teach graduate students in scientific fields to do just that. In the course, LSC senior lecturer and award-winning journalist Ron Seely will share over 20 years of expertise as a science and environmental reporter working for the Wisconsin State Journal and as a freelancer to help students bring clarity and simplicity to complex scientific subjects.

Hand writes Science Writing with Life Sciences Communication pen

“LSC 560 gives graduate students a professional understanding of how to effectively communicate science and research findings to the public. It helps any scientist or science writer who needs to understand how and why their messages must change along with the audience they address, whether it’s scientific, lay or governmental,” says LSC professor and director of undergraduate studies Shiela Reaves.

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Alumni profile: Laura Strugnell gives a voice to the next generation of agricultural research

In spring 2017, Laura Strugnell (B.S. ’17) tapped the mail icon on her phone and found an email sent to the Life Sciences Communication (LSC) undergraduate student listserv. Strugnell was searching for a job, and the email advertised a communications position in Texcoco, Mexico at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known as CIMMYT for its Spanish name Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo).

A Madison native, Strugnell hadn’t planned on getting a job outside the U.S. However, she had taken a variety of agriculture classes and worked in a horticulture lab while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so she knew about CIMMYT’s global reputation. The more she thought about it, the more convinced she became that working at CIMMYT could be a prime opportunity to put her LSC education to work.

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LSC researchers explore security implications of gene editing

The following story was written by Brian Mattmiller of the Morgridge Institute for Research. It has been adapted and republished here. 

LSC professor Dietram Scheufele leads a panel and LSC chair Dominique Brossard serves as a panelist at an international workshop on genome editing security.

LSC professor Dietram Scheufele leads a panel and LSC chair Dominique Brossard serves as a panelist at an international workshop on genome editing security.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication participated in an international workshop this month on the intersection of genome editing technology and national security.

The Oct. 11-13 conference, based in Hanover, Germany, assembled a global group of bioethics and government experts to address security questions on gene editing as they relate to human health, agriculture and the potential to genetically alter species. Experts from the United States and across Europe, China and India explored ideas for harmonizing gene editing policies across national borders.

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