The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

Upcoming Events

The Public Engagement Project invites applications from UMass faculty for the Spring 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship

Do you want to share your research with audiences beyond the academy, write an effective op-ed or policy brief, testify before Congress, or work with community and professional groups?

The Public Engagement Project invites applications from UMass faculty for the Spring 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship. As a Public Engagement Faculty Fellow, you’ll develop a fellowship plan tailored to your expertise and aspirations for reaching broader publics. You will receive technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, cultivating networks to reach those publics, and workshopping your policy brief, blog, op-ed piece, or other public engagement products. 

For more information, click here. 

 

Public Engagement in the Age of Social Media
October 1, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Campus Center Room 174-76, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Social media can be a valuable tool for public engagement. But navigating the social media landscape can also be intimidating for many. How do you build a following? How do you write a Tweet that will resonate with everyday people? How do you deal with ‘trolls’?

Please join us for a panel and discussion on the use of social media for public engagement, highlighting strategies for knowing and growing your audience, effective messaging, handling controversy, and exploring the professional impacts of a social media presence.  

The Public Engagement Project invites applications from UMass faculty for the Spring 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship

Do you want to share your research with audiences beyond the academy, write an effective op-ed or policy brief, testify before Congress, or work with community and professional groups?

The Public Engagement Project invites applications from UMass faculty for the Spring 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship. As a Public Engagement Faculty Fellow, you’ll develop a fellowship plan tailored to your expertise and aspirations for reaching broader publics. You will receive technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, cultivating networks to reach those publics, and workshopping your policy brief, blog, op-ed piece, or other public engagement products. 

For more information, click here. 

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, comments in EcoWatch on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement about changes to its mammal testing policy

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, comments in EcoWatch on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement that it will stop conducting or funding studies that involve testing on mammals by 2035.  He says, “If you exclusively depend on in vitro toxicology or mathematical modeling, you're going to miss all the different interactions that happen in a physiological system — whether in rat, mouse, human, or a fetus. You simply cannot replicate that.”

Elizabeth A. Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, is interviewed on Connecting Point about a new pilot program studying opioid treatment in seven jails in Massachusetts.

Elizabeth A. Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, is interviewed on the local public affairs program Connecting Point about a new pilot program that will study opioid treatment in seven jails in Massachusetts. Evans had created a similar program for inmates at the jails in Hampshire and Franklin counties. She says the addition of more jails to the program is being done as part of a new state law that has just taken effect and will allow officials who run these facilities to share information on what practices have been shown to work well.

2018 PEP Fellow, Karen Kurczynski, launches “Making Art Yours,” a new program in collaboration with the University Museum of Contemporary Art this Fall

2018 PEP Fellow, Karen Kurczynski, will launch “Making Art Yours,” a new program in collaboration with the University Museum of Contemporary Art. Funded in part by a Campus Climate Grant, the project will gather small groups of students - about ten each, including students of color, first-generation college students, and others who may not feel like the art museum is “their” space, into the UMCA for a personal conversation about art. Read more here.

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans, research on obstacles to treating opioid use disorder with medication featured in Medicine News Line

In an effort to find ways to improve long-term outcomes for people with opioid use disorder, 2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans set out to study the obstacles to treating this chronic condition with an effective medication, buprenorphine-naloxone. “Very few people with opioid use disorder ever get treatment for it – 10 percent or less,” says Evans in a Medicine News Line story. “Of those who do, few remain in treatment long enough to really benefit from it.” In a newly published paper in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, lead author Evans and colleagues identify factors that inhibit the long-term use of buprenorphine, which was approved in 2002 by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder. Story also featured in News Medical Life SciencesScience CodexBusiness WestHealio, MassLive, and Boston Globe.

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, participated in “On Point” discussion about climate changes in the Arctic

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, participated in the radio program “On Point” on Aug. 16 as part of a discussion of climate changes in the Arctic. According to the program, the accelerated sea loss caused by the warming planet has raised the stakes for the region.

2019 PEP Fellow, Mike Knodler, featured in NEPR story on the use of “zipper merge” technique to relieve highway congestion

Drivers who confront lane closures or other merging situations should use the “zipper merge” technique says Mike Knodler, 2019 PEP Fellow in a NEPR news story.  With the zipper merge, drivers use all open lanes as long as possible and then take turns at the merge point. Knodler and other traffic engineers say the zipper merge is safer and keeps traffic flowing. Story also featured in Maine Public.

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, comments in Science Magazine news story about the increasing ship traffic in the Arctic

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, comments in a Science Magazine news story about the increasing ship traffic in the Arctic seas off Alaska in recent years, partly due to climate change and melting ice. “The overall picture is mixed,” she says. “We’re opening up an entire environment that has otherwise been cut off from human influence.” She also notes that funding for research in that region is relatively limited so the increased activity may be limited.

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