Tell Your Story

In a recent interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that universities fail to adequately communicate with the public about their discoveries, which reduces their educational impact. He noted “there’s a whole culture [in academia] that does not embrace…pop culture. If communicating with the public were valued in the tenure process, [faculty] would be better at it.”

  • Do you agree with Dr. Tyson?
  • Should faculty become better storytellers to inform and inspire the public about their scholarship?
  • Should communication to a lay public audience (e.g. local TV news stories, popular magazine publication, YouTube channel, advocacy website) be rewarded in Chico State’s RTP process?

Neil deGrasse Tyson – Chronicle Interview

Share your comments below.

5 thoughts on “Tell Your Story

  1. I agree with Tyson because you don’t get “credit” in the tenure process for publishing or presenting to the public.

  2. If academics presented their work more to the public, there would be more understanding of why we are here and what the population of California gets for its money from the CSU system. To tell our story, we’d have to think about how to make our work relevant and understandable to a general audience, which would give us a different way to think about it. I’d go so far as to say we have a obligation to do this. And OF COURSE it should be rewarded in the tenure process.

  3. There is value in what Dr. Tyson says. Access to our research is what makes our research come alive. I have always been an advocate of academics as public intellectuals. On my CV I list academic conferences and invited talks. In these talks I work to break down sociological theory into understandable concepts for the lay audience. It works. I also present at high school and other places where students and the public can engage. This philosophy is promoted by bell hooks as she speaks to African American scholars about disseminating our research, also. Academics should get credit for these talks. Maybe not at the same level as an academic conference talk, but certainly at the .33 level, such that three talks to the public — or publishing a discussion of your work in a magazine or newspaper — would be the equivalent of a conference presentation. This does not punish those professors not inclined to present publicly but does allow the rest of us to do both — and receive acknowledgment.

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