April 1, 2011
AIBS Public Policy Director Robert Gropp traveled to New Mexico in January to provide a daylong workshop on communicating with decisionmakers for nearly 20 new faculty members there. The workshop was part of an annual New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) junior faculty leadership development program. In addition to new faculty members from institutions across New Mexico, the program also includes faculty from universities in Nevada and Idaho.
According to William Michener, director of the New Mexico EPSCoR state program, "the purpose of the Faculty Leadership Program is to provide relatively new and as yet untenured faculty with the leadership skills they need to excel at their research, education, and public service." The leadership program strives to help participants develop skills such as time management, successful grant writing, effective teaching and mentoring, and how to optimally communicate with the media and decisionmakers. Skills that "are critical to faculty success, yet new faculty rarely receive the necessary training," Michener says.
"The participants clearly recognized the importance of developing communication skills and tools that will help them convey the importance of their work to decisionmakers," Gropp said.
Michener further stated, "Scientists that can effectively communicate have enormous power to inform decisionmaking, enhance public support for science and education, and erase misperceptions about issues like climate change that will affect humanity far into the future."
To learn more about AIBS Public Policy Office training programs and workshops, please visit www.aibs.org/public-policy/policy_training.html.