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ACCA Science Communication for Broader Impact

Schedule and Location

Online Course Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays; September 3 through November 26, 2019
Two evening field-trips TBD
For most classes, your instructor will not be online with you and you may complete online classes on your own schedule within the available dates and deadlines.

Fees and Registration

Please contact the Biology Department faculty at the participating A.C.C.A. institution from which you wish to receive credit.
You must also register through the Arboretum by contacting the Registrars’ Office: Registrar-ed@mortonarb.org or 630-719-2468 (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.)


Course Description

Become an effective science communicator. Science communication is a vital component of the scientific process. Grants, especially through the National Science Foundation, require clear communication and have an increasing emphasis on the broader impact section that focuses on public outreach. In this course, you’ll gain the skills you need to identify your audience and tailor your message to that audience, select the right communication method for the task at hand, use narratives to shape your communication, and translate scientific findings to maximize your reach and impact. We will use popular literature, media, and scientific literature to inform how we craft different kinds of messages, including developing an elevator pitch, and writing copy for signage and newspaper articles, and policy memos.

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Share the findings and the excitement of science with diverse audiences
  • Increase knowledge on a specific issue
  • Create communication pieces to influence behavior, opinions, or policy preferences
  • Increase public appreciation of science


Jessica Turner-Skoff, Ph.D., Treeologist, The Morton Arboretum

Course Details

  • Prerequisite: General Biology. This course is intended for upper level undergraduates and graduate learners. 
  • Course Website: treelearning.mortonarb.org
  • Required texts: Olson, R. (2015). Houston, we have a narrative. The University of Chicago Press. Pollan, M. (2001). The Botany of Desire: a plant's-eye view of the world. Random House Trade. Baron, N. (2010). Escape from the ivory tower. Island Press.
  • Optional text: Greene, A. (2013). Writing science in plain English. The University of Chicago Press.
ACCA Science Communication for Broader Impact