Beyond the Deficit Model: The Ambassador Approach to Public Engagement

Date: 
Monday, July 1, 2019 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops
Audience: 
General Public | Scientists
Discipline: 
General STEM
Organization:
University of Utah, Stanford University, Pacific Science Center, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Description: 

Scientists are increasingly motivated to engage the public, particularly those who do not or cannot access traditional science education opportunities. Communication researchers have identified shortcomings of the deficit model approach, which assumes that skepticism toward science is based on a lack of information or scientific literacy, and encourage scientists to facilitate open-minded exchange with the public. We describe an ambassador approach, to develop a scientist’s impact identity, which integrates his or her research, personal interests and experiences to achieve societal impacts. The scientist identifies a community or focal group to engage, on the basis of his or her impact identity, learns about that group, and promotes inclusion of all group members by engaging in venues in which that group naturally gathers, rather than in traditional education settings. Focal group members stated that scientists communicated effectively and were responsive to participant questions and ideas. Scientist reported professional and personal benefits from this approach.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
Advancing Informal STEM Learning
Award Number: 
1906408
Funding Amount: 
$977,000
Citation
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz018
Publication Name: 
BioScience
Volume: 
69
Number: 
4
Page Number: 
305–313

Team Members

Nalini NadkarniPrincipal Investigator
Shelley GoldmanShelley GoldmanCo-Principal Investigator
Sue AllenAuthor
Becky  MenloveBecky MenloveCo-Principal Investigator

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