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.  

2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, research on sleep and memory featured in Medical Xpress

Research conducted by 2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, on sleep and how it affects learning and memory, is featured in Medical Xpress. "People are talking about sleep more now," Spencer says. "Doctors have realized that they need to ask patients about sleep, but they don't have the answers. So, they send them for a sleep study. Well, everyone has some level of sleep disorder – we just don't know enough about how to delineate them." Spencer says she is currently studying sleep in both preschoolers and the elderly. 

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, quoted in Concord Monitor discussion the decline in the number of same-sex marriages many N.E. states

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, says in the Concord Monitor, that the decline in the number of same-sex marriages in New Hampshire, Vermont and to a lesser degree in Massachusetts, may be due to an easing of pent-up demand now that federal law allows it and people don't have to come to New England states to get legally married. She says, however, that is something of a guess because same-sex marriage hasn't been around long enough to reveal long-term trends.

2015 PEP Fellow Michael Rawlins interviewed on WAMC Northeast Public radio about the climate records set in 2018

2018 was the fourth warmest year on record globally and the wettest year on record in Massachusetts. Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow and associate director of the Climate System Research Center at UMass Amherst, says on a WAMC Northeat Public radio interview that in 5-10 years when the next El Nino happens, temperatures are likely to approach the threshold that we're trying to stay below to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. He says this is a wake-up call and we need to see a transition to renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate. He also says that the current rapid fluctuations in temperature are indication of "weather whiplash," an expected phenomenon as the climate warms.

2016 PEP Fellow Miliann Kang quoted in two Connecticut Post articles about labor abuses in the nail salon industry

Two articles in the Connecticut Post about labor abuses in the nail salon industry in Connecticut quote Miliann Kang, 2016 PEP Fellow, who has studied the nail industry since the 1990s. Kang says the broader issue is not labor violations, but an immigration policy that makes it difficult for people to come to the U.S. and work legally, forcing immigrants into a shadow labor market. Connecticut is the only state in the U.S. that does not require nail technicians and estheticians to be licensed. See articles here and here.

2015 PEP Fellow Rebecca Spencer is interviewed for KPCC segment on sleep deprivation and disease

Rebecca Spencer, 2015 PEP Fellow, is interviewed for a KPCC radio segment on sleep deprivation and how scientists now think it may be associated with increased risk of a variety of health problems including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some mental disorders. Spencer says lack of sleep has developed into a public health crisis. Segment begins at 1:00.

2018 PEP Fellow Matthew A. Lackner, and 2017 PEP Fellow Erin D. Baker, co-write an essay in The Apopka Voice on offshore wind industry in the U.S.

Matthew A. Lackner, 2018 PEP Fellow, and 2017 PEP Fellow, Erin D. Baker, write an essay in The Apopka Voice on why they believe the offshore wind industry in the U.S. is about to dramatically expand. They say a combination of support from state governments, a developing market that is lowering prices and technological advances are the drivers of this trend.