Instilling a “Broader Impacts” Identity at Iowa State University

Thursday, February 16, 2017: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Ballroom A (Hynes Convention Center)
Sriram Sundararajan, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
There is an increasing emphasis on scientists and engineers to communicate the potential impact of their work beyond just the technical aspects, to a wide range of audiences. In addition, there is a need for scientists and engineers to engage in efforts that can potentially benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. This includes for example, engaging the public, broadening participation in their disciplines and developing the next generation of scientists and engineers. If we move up the pipeline, helping ensure that graduate students recognize the importance of societal impact and are cognizant of ways to potentially achieve societal impact in the context of their technical expertise is also beneficial for the disciplines. These needs can be best achieved by informing faculty and students on the various efforts that can achieve ‘broader impact’ and encouraging and guiding them to engage in specific activities. This approach can help them develop a ‘broader impacts identity’.

At Iowa State University, there has been a focused effort on providing the support structures and tools for faculty and graduate students to develop broader impacts programs in the context of their research expertise or disciplinary areas. The panel will highlight specific efforts including the integration of broader impacts planning with the grant development process as well as the deployment of a graduate course for engineering students to develop communication skills and a specific broader impacts activity.