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SBU’s Communicating Science Program Expands Across SUNY

Alda communicating science
Alda communicating science
Alan Alda teaching a Center for Communicating Science improv workshop.

The partnership between SUNY and Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science will broaden its reach by offering the center’s highly acclaimed training to doctoral students at up to five additional SUNY campuses. The Alan Alda Center has received widespread recognition for its training, which provides students with skills to communicate their work effectively to the public, public officials, the media and others outside of their discipline. SUNY will take the program to scale by offering additional training and workshops and expanding access to programming through the SUNY Global Center in midtown Manhattan.

“Alan Alda and his team at Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science have developed innovative techniques and effective practices for explaining even the most complex matters of science, and we look forward to bringing their highly successful program to more SUNY students,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This pilot program is a perfect example of SUNY doing what it does best — identifying what works at one campus and bringing it to scale so that more of our students benefit. Thank you to Alan for his leadership and vision as we pursue this exciting opportunity.”

“Through our partnership with SUNY and Stony Brook University, we’ve had a real impact on the communication of science and medicine,” said acclaimed actor, writer and director Alan Alda, founder of the center and visiting professor in Stony Brook’s School of Journalism. “We’ve trained more than 8,000 scientists and healthcare professionals to communicate their work in a clear and engaging manner, and another 30,000 scientists have been exposed to our unique approach in plenaries and lectures across the United States and around the world. This new pilot gives us an opportunity to capitalize on one of SUNY’s greatest strengths — its systemness, as Chancellor Zimpher says — and bring our successful training to more students within SUNY and throughout New York State.”

“Thanks to the passion and innovative work of Alan Alda and the Alda Center, Stony Brook University is at the vanguard of demonstrating the importance of effective science communication,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Alan and his expert team at the Alda Center have been driving this big idea and building momentum from Washington, DC, to all corners of academia. Establishing a relationship with SUNY partner campuses will empower those as we have been empowered, which will ultimately help advance SUNY’s research mission. We are pleased to be a part of this.”

“Our expanded partnership with The State University of New York will bring the important work of the Alda Center to an entirely new and tremendous scale,” said Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Alda Center and a professor in the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. “The transformation that our students make in being able to convey the importance and impact of their work can be really amazing, and we’re excited about the opportunity to share the experience with more SUNY students.”

Key Components of the Pilot Program

  • Train the Trainer Program: Beginning in Fall 2017, for the next two years the Alda Center will work with SUNY campuses to roll out a rigorous training bootcamp followed by a “train the trainer” experience. This will include shadowing, mentorship, and ultimately, the delivery of Alda trainings under the supervision of a lead instructor from Stony Brook University.
  • Workshops:The Alda Center will host workshops at each of the five SUNY campuses, giving trainees the opportunity to train their peers while also supporting STEM faculty and students at their home campus. Each campus will host at least one workshop that provides training for 16 to 32 participants.
  • NYC Alda Center Hub at the SUNY Global Center:The Alda Center will establish a New York City hub at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan to expand access to workshops and coursework associated with the Alda Center’s Advanced Graduate Certificates in Communicating Science and Communicating Medicine, and host meetings associated with program development.

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