Public Scholars Group
Public Scholars Group
Announcing an exciting new partnership between the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring, The KU Center for Research, and the Hall Center for the Humanities: the Public Scholars Group. The public scholars program provides a valuable professional development opportunity for faculty and aims to make more visible beyond academia the relevance and significance of our research in today’s world.
This group will encourage and equip academics to use public scholarship platforms for accessible yet research-based communication that enrich public discourse. Our objective, made only more urgent by the global pandemic and current racial tensions, is to foster constructive, informed dialogue with the broader public. It is critical that we build bridges between our essential but often deeply specialized research and larger communities that do not always have access to or the inclination to read specialized publications. The goal of the Public Scholars Group is to bring together a diverse group of 20-30 faculty to create a forum that provides training and support for sustainable, public writing and other forms of communication among KU researchers.
We will launch the project by hiring the nationally respected Op-Ed project, which provides training for aspiring public scholars (with an emphasis on promoting diverse voices), to lead us in a series of training sessions. We will then continue that work with experts on campus sharing their skills in areas such as public speaking, dealing with media appearances, writing and selling book proposals for trade publishers, and responding to online harassment. We will meet bi-weekly during the pilot year, sometimes as a larger group to engage with a guest speaker, and at other times in smaller groups to workshop and pitch op-ed pieces. We will ask all participants to commit to writing and pitching 3-4 op-eds (or equivalent public scholarly activities such as a media appearances or podcasts) throughout the course of the year. Participants will help each other to place public writings in publications or on media platforms.
Additionally, members of the group will commit to mentoring a colleague and so expanding the group’s footprint. Each participant will receive $500 (as summer stipend or research funding).
Ani Kokobobo (Slavic and Eurasian) and Jennifer Raff (Anthropology) have agreed to coordinate the group’s activities. Both have done extensive public writing over the years, their work appearing in high-profile outlets such as The Washington Post, The Conversation, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, Forbes, and The Guardian.
This project has been made possible through funding by the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring, The KU Center for Research, and The Hall Center for the Humanities.