Paper No. 154-8
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
INVOLVING THE PUBLIC IN A SUCCESSFUL CAMPUS LECTURE SERIES: BRINGING EARTH SCIENCE TO THE COMMUNITY
BUDDINGTON, A.M., Science Dept, Spokane Community College, 1810 N. Greene St, Spokane, WA 99217-5399, abuddington@scc.spokane.cc.wa.us and GARVER, J.I., Geology Dept, Union College, 807 Union St, Schenectady, NY 12308-2311

A well-coordinated seminar series centered on popular and current topics presented by dynamic, enthusiastic speakers can provide an important programmatic highlight on a college campus. Presented are two college lecture series (Spokane Community College and Union College) that attempt to address the issue of low-level public awareness and understanding of the geosciences. In the thematic, multi-component series approach, numerous presentations are related to a specific topic or theme, thus allowing the linkage of disparate ideas surrounding multifaceted scientific and social problems that may have a local or regional emphasis. The non-thematic series focuses on a wide variety of topics and popular scientific issues that are not specifically related. Over the last seven years, we have produced 11 individual lecture series (3 to 7 talks each) with over 45 individual talks having been presented. These geoscience lecture series have successfully drawn large numbers of students and members of the community onto each campus. Series success is dependant upon location demographics as well as key strategies involving series planning and promotion.

Involving the entire campus and local community can be challenging. Our strategy has been to include talks that link science to human culture, public policy, politics, economics, or mainstream topics or disciplines, which may result in a significantly higher campus (and public) attendance and wider interest in the entire series. It is crucial that the speakers engage the audience and that the talks are not too technical scientifically, so we make sure that the speaker is aware of the series goal. Attendance is one key measure of success, and we ensure good turn out by advertising through local media, and commonly we link specific talks or the entire series to specific courses. Creative funding techniques, including cooperative interaction with local industry, allow for a wider range of speaker accessibility. Positive attention from a well-run, high profile public lecture series may bring unexpected rewards to your program. Ultimately, a campus geoscience lecture series can successfully engage the entire community in relevant earth science issues.

2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)
Session No. 154
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Colorado Convention Center: Exhibit Hall
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, October 29, 2002
 

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