Scholarship as Public Service

workshop logoWhat It Is and How to Do It

Faculty and graduate students have enormous expertise that can advance public understanding of important social issues, inspire ideas, and maybe even shape policies. Too often, however, this expertise is shared only in academic publications that limit its impact.

Making your knowledge and research relatable to a broader audience--becoming a public scholar--gives you these important advantages:

• increases the social impact of your work
• boosts your visibility
• builds your networks
• makes you a more effective teacher, mentor, and advocate for issues near and dear to your heart.

But where to begin?

Scholarship as Public Service

Dr. Darlene Weaver, associate provost for Academic Affairs, organized an innovative workshop series on Public Scholarship that offered specific skill-building as well as resources, such as professional headshots and personalized coaching, to help advance the academic and public reputation of faculty and grad students for creative, civic-centered teaching and research. An initiative of the Catholicism and the Common Good project, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the series hosted editorial experts who shared their experience and insights on public scholarship that can advance the common good. 

Learning Objectives

The series covered various topics to increase understanding of public scholarship best practices, rewards, and pitfalls.  Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all programs were conducted virtually.

Hosted programs:

Spring 2020

Writing for Newspapers and Magazines
Presenter: Kaya Oakes, essayist, teacher and editor of Killing the Buddha website
Writing for newspapers and magazines is not only a way to make our academic fields accessible to a wider audience, it can also build interest in our disciplines and research. In this workshop, Oakes taught participants how to think differently about audiences and purpose, to familiarize themselves with the processes of pitching, and to work with editors on how to use social media to engage readers. View or review the program here.

Fall 2020  

Writing Books for Bigger Audiences
Presenter: Sharmila Sen, editorial director for Harvard University Press
Drawing on her significant experience working with faculty, Sen shared insights regarding how to shape book projects that will find a broader readership, and offered tips for modulating one's voice and prose accordingly.

How and Why to "Twitter"
Presenter: Megan Goodwin, program director for Sacred Writes at Northeastern University
Goodwin provided participants with tools for beginning to use Twitter in their public scholarship, with an eye toward effective social media use and professional network cultivation. Participants learned to create a Twitter account during the workshop.

Getting Started with SquareSpace
Presenter: Megan Goodwin, program director for Sacred Writes at Northeastern University
Goodwin introduced participants to the SquareSpace platform and surveyed best practices for building professional websites.Recent Coaching Opportunity to Advance Creative Scholarship and Teaching

Goodwin also provided the opportunity for individualized coaching on social media and website development to academics who expressed interest in strengthening their online identity as public scholards and creative teachers.

Public Scholarship 101
Presenter: Liz Bucar, professor of religion at Northeastern University
A distinguished scholar and popular contemporary author, Bucar has written for diverse publications such as The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, and Zocalo Public Square. Her presentation informed participants of the benefits and risks of public scholarship, and provided tips and resources for building networks for collaboration and support with journalists and media outlets. View or review the program here.