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 deadline for the 2020 Fellowship has passed. Please check back next fall to apply for the 2021 Fellowship program.

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 tenure-track 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, cultivate networks to reach those publics, and workshop your policy brief, blog, op-ed piece, or other public engagement product(s). 

Faculty Fellows will meet twice per month during the 2020 spring semester, attending panels and skill-building workshops offered by faculty, communications experts from University Relations, and others experienced with public engagement. Fellows will also have the opportunity to work in small groups and receive peer mentoring tailored to their engagement plan, as well as to present their research to Massachusetts lawmakers. An initial meeting for accepted applicants will take place in the afternoon in December 2019.

In addition to opportunities for skill development, networking, and outreach, Public Engagement Faculty Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend for their research account.

2019 PEP Fellow, Alicia Timme-Laragy, recently hosted a workshop on the health risks associated with PFAS

Alicia Timme-Laragy, 2019 PEP Fellow, recently hosted a workshop for elected officials and candidates on the health risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. “PFAS 101: Current Research and Health Risks” brought staff representing a number of state representatives and senators, Westfield city councilors, and staffers from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey's office to campus to introduce legislators to the current state of research and raise awareness of the health risks associated with PFAS chemicals. Read more here.

Erin Baker, PEP steering committee member, and colleagues visited the University of Ghana and University of Cape Town as part of a World University Network (WUN) grant

Erin Baker, PEP steering committee member, and colleagues, recently visited the University of Ghana and University of Cape Town as part of a World University Network (WUN) grant. The Sustainable Energy-Access Network for Africa, established as part of the WUN grant, is made up of researchers from the University of Massachusetts, University of Ghana, University of Cape Town, University of Nairobi, Argonne National Lab and Carnegie Mellon University. The team’s aim is to investigate how to improve electricity systems and access throughout the African continent, using stakeholder-driven methods to inform policy and investment. Read more here.

PEP Co-Director, Linda Tropp, quoted in Yes Magazine article on changing minds and developing empathy for others.

PEP Co-Director, Linda Tropp, is quoted in a Yes Magazine article on changing minds and developing empathy for others. The article explains that we develop beliefs through our feelings, and a way to change beliefs is through making emotional connections with people. “The more contact we have, the less anxious we feel about being with people who are different from us, and the more able we are to empathize with them in terms of what they’re going through,” explains Tropp.

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans, has research on success of 2008 parity law in improving Medicaid access for substance use featured in EurekaAlert!

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans, and colleagues', research on the success of a 2008 parity law in expanding Medicaid acceptance by facilities treating substance use disorders (SUDs) featured in EurekaAlert!. The researchers conclude that the increase in SUD treatment coverage "may result in significant expansions in access to care for those enrolled in Medicaid."

PEP Steering Committee Member, M. V. Lee Badgett's research cited in Bloomberg Quint article on new study on gay-friendly workplace policies.

A Bloomberg Quint article about a new study finding that gay-friendly workplace policies help attract top talent, cites related research by PEP steering committee member, M. V. Lee Badgett. Badgett found that India was losing as much as 1.4 percent of its national output before the 2018 overthrow of a long-standing law making homosexuality a crime. Story also featured in Miami Herald, The Business Times, Bristol Herald Courier, and Chicago Tribune.

2015 PEP Fellow, Nilanjana Dasgupta, among group of researchers whose recent report on sexual harassment and gender bias in the STEM workforce featured in Science

A diverse group of scientists, including 2015 PEP Fellow, Nilanjana Dasgupta, report their findings and recommendations on how institutions and funding agencies can address and prevent sexual harassment and gender bias in the STEM workforce. Details of their suggested “specific, potentially high-impact policy changes” appear in the current issue of Science. Also read about findings in Health Medicine Network.