Professors Heather Getha-Taylor and Rosemary O’Leary participated in an invitation-only National Science Foundation (NSF) workshop, “Curriculum Blueprint to Enhance Social Scientists’ Capacities to Create and Sustain Social Change.” The workshop was held the weekend of February 27-28, 2015 at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at University of Texas at Austin.
The invitation letter from Co-Primary Investigators Angela Evans and Jenny Knowles Morrison indicated, “The workshop aim is part of a larger effort to expand knowledge about how to enhance the capacity of a wide range of social, behavioral, and economic-focused scientists to better engage with the policymaking community.”
The workshop invitees included a range of national thought leaders, policymakers, curriculum designers, and veteran ‘catalysts’ engaged in successful innovative partnerships of this nature. During the workshop, the 50 participants built a curriculum to teach faculty how to translate and share their research findings for a broader policy audience.
The workshop modules were designed to answer the question: “Can social and behavioral sciences researchers use their expertise to provide counsel and advice to policymakers in a manner that effectively contributes to the formulation of innovative policies that lead to sustained social good?”
The two-day intensive workshop included large and small group work on drafting modules, questions, course objectives, and learning outcomes; developing pedagogy, delivery protocols, content descriptions, and performance measures; and identifying curriculum materials, exercises, and teaching resources. At the end of the workshop, the curriculum of each small group was put through peer review.
The end product of this workshop was a draft short-course to teach NSF researchers how to better explain their findings and the relevance of their research to policy makers.