SciComm Minor

Science Communication and Public Engagement minor (SCoPE)

Sharing scientific discoveries with the public is no longer solely the job of professional communicators; rather, it is a skill that all scholars should have. This minor offers an opportunity to apply communication theories, goals and processes to scientific phenomena. Students in the minor will have the flexibility to build their curricula with a combination of courses in communications, public engagement and scientific research, ethics, and literacy.

This minor is designed for undergraduates who are interested in the sciences and/or engineering and would like to learn how to use a wide variety of communication tools for engaging publics, including non-technical audiences and policymakers.

Students completing the minor will develop an identity as someone who can contribute to the public understanding of science.

Are you ready to declare a minor in Science Communication and Public Engagement?

Questions? Email the faculty advisor: Dr. Mark Sarvary

Learning Objectives

After completing the minor, students will be able to:
  1. examine the nature of science and evaluate how scientific information is produced and consumed.
  2. apply science communication theories, goals and processes.
  3. implement the components of scientific literacy (find, critically evaluate and ethically use information) to strengthen public understanding of science.
  4. assess specific audiences to shape communication strategies.
  5. utilize communication tools –written, oral, video, audio, digital (including social media) — for developing science content and engagement opportunities appropriate for diverse audiences.
  6. create an honest and open science communication environment, based on personal and civic responsibility.
  7. build capacity to help people to incorporate science in their daily lives, as well as to engage in science policy decisions.

Course Requirements

Students who declare this minor will have to take at least 8 science and/or engineering credits as their major or second minor. These courses can be taken prior to, or simultaneously with the science communication minor courses, and need to be different courses than the ones appear on the core and electives list below. The minor consists of 18 credit hours in addition to the science and engineering credits:
  • All students will be required to take a 3 -credit core course, COMM 2850 (Spring,3cr.) – Communication, Environment, Science, and Health.
  • In addition to the core course, students will need to take at least 15 credits including a minimum of six credits from a group of courses covering Community Engaged Learning (CU-CEL); at least six credits from courses related to communication, and a minimum of three credits from a cluster of courses on scientific methods, ethics and science literacy.
  • Community engagement is an important aspect of science communication. Many courses already have a community-engagement component (CU-CEL) but students will be encouraged to gain experience in the field, practicing public speaking, community engagement, or assessment as part of independent research (4990 course) or as part of an internship with a community partner (4960 course).
  • Communication majors and minors interested in this minor will have to fulfill the minor requirements (except the core course) with courses outside of the Communication (COMM) department.
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Electives

Community engagement courses (at least 6 credits):

Course #

Semester

Cr.

Course title

ALS 2000

F, S

3

Leadership for Sustainability

BME 4440

S

3

Science Policy Bootcamp: Concept to Conclusion

COMM 3080

S

3

Capstone Course in Environmental & Sustainability Communication: From the Lab to the World

COMM 3081

F

3

Environmental & Sustainability Communication Part 2

COMM 3760

F, S

3

Planning Communication Campaigns

CRP 3601

S

3

Museum and the Public

EDUC 3510

S

3

Engaged Learning through Extension, Outreach, and Instruction

ENTOM 3350

F

4

Naturalist Outreach Practicum

PLSCI 3940

S

3

Skills for Public Engagement

PSYCH 2820

F

2

Community Outreach

PSYCH 4500

F

4

Psychology at the Sciencenter

STS 4451

S

4

Making Science Policy: The Real World

ALS 4960

F, S

1-3

Internship or Service-Learning in Community Engagement

ALS 4990

F, S

1-3

Independent Research in Science Communication and Public Engagement

Applied Communication courses (at least 6 credits)

Course #

Semester

Cr.

Course title

AEM 2700

F, S

3

Management Communication

ASTRO 2202

F

3

A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System: Science, Policy, and Exploration

BIOG 3500

F, Su

3

Introduction to Applied Science Communication: Digital Platforms and Public Engagement

BiOSM 3500

Su

3

Science Communication in Coastal and Marine Environments: Digital Platforms & Public Engagement

COMM 2450

F, Su

3

Communication and Technology

COMM 2760

S

3

Persuasion and Social Influence

COMM 3010

F, S, Su

3

Writing and Producing the Narrative for Digital Media

COMM 3020

F

3

Science Writing for Media

COMM 3060

S, Su

3

Connecting Experience: Creating a Personal Brand and Implementing an ePortfolio

COMM 3070

F, S

3

Communicating Today: Creating Strategic Messages across Media

COMM 3090

W

3

Experiential Writing in the Yucatan

COMM 3200

S, Su

3

New Media and Society

COMM 4660

S

3

Public Communication of Science & Technology

COMM 5660

F, S

1

Science Communication Workshop

ILRLR 3300

F, S

4

Argumentation and Debate

PLSCI 4100

F

3

Digital Technologies for Research and Communication

Scientific research, ethics and literacy (at least 3 credits)

ALS 2100

F

1

Information Chaos: Navigating Today’s Information Landscape

BEE 4150

F

3

Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice

BSOC 2061

S

4

Ethics and the Environment

COMM 2820

F

3

Research Methods in Communication Studies

COMM 4300

F, Su

3

Ethics in New Media, Technology, and Communication

COMM 4280

S

3

Communication Law

COMM 4350

F

3

Communicating Leadership and Ethics

NTRES 3800

F

3

Climate Solutions

NTRES 4330

S

3

Applied Environmental Philosophy

PHYS 7679

S

3

Finding Your Science Voice

PHIL 2450

S

4

Ethics and Health Care

STS 1201

F

3

Information Ethics, Law, and Policy

STS 2051

F

4

Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

STS 4041

S

4

Controversies in Science, Technology and Medicine: What They Are and How to Study Them

STS 4616

F

4

Corrupting Environmental Media

Science isn't finished until it's communicated.

 

Sir Mark Wolport

Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government