In January 2014, the editor of the leading journal Public Understanding of Science acknowledged that his publication has transitioned from the focus suggested by its name to a new focus on public engagement. Still, he wrote: "the meaning of this transition is not unambiguous." The purpose of this conference is to explore these ambiguities, in a supportive, yet critical examination of the processes, outcomes and impacts of public participation in decision-making in natural resources, planning and health contexts. A variety of fields have taken up the call to develop new forms of interaction between experts and decision-makers, on one hand, and community residents, patients, landowners, industry representatives and other affected publics on the other. This expanding area for research and practice goes under a variety of names: public participation, deliberation, dialogue, consensus communication, collaborative governance, participatory modeling, citizen science, among others. Significant creativity has been invested in developing specific practices--indeed, Rowe and Frewer (2005) list 113 mechanisms. We propose to explore both procedural and normative issues in the design, implementation and assessment of public participation processes. Public participation is widely expected to be “better”: to lead to better physical and social science (e.g., better models), better social outcomes (e.g., trust, collaboration), and better decisions on environmental, health and planning issues. Our goal is to promote a conversation that asks: better in what ways, compared to what, and measured how?

The 5th ISU Summer Symposium on Science Communication brings together scholars and scientists who are confronting challenges of public participation in fields that include environmental governance, natural resource management, community planning, and health policy-making. These proceedings represent a frank conversation across lines of scholarship which seldom touch, about the limitations of current theories and practices and about innovative approaches to moving beyond the present stasis.

5SS Proceedings Editor: Dr. Jean Goodwin

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from our ISU partners: The Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH); College of Agriculture & Life Sciences; Greenlee School of Journalism & Communication; Department of English; Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences; Program in Speech Communication; Department of Community & Regional Planning; and the Water & Climate Change Project.

Table of Contents

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Friday, January 1st

Keynote Address—Rethinking Public Participation: The Case of Public Land Management

Matthew McKinney, University of Montana

Getting to Action on Issues of Gender Equality in China: From Participatory Training to Government Officials’ Participating in Change Behavior

Wenjuan Bi, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Advancing Practical Theory in Environmental Communication: A Phronetic Analysis of Environmental Communication in New Zealand

Giles Dodson, Unitec Institute of Technology
Anna Palliser, Southern Institute of Technology

Objecting to Models: A Typology of Non-experts’ Critiques of Models of Human-Natural Systems

Jean Goodwin, North Carolina State University

Citizen Science: Evaluating for Civic Engagement

Nancy Grudens-Schuck, Iowa State University
Zulham Sirajuddin, Iowa State University

The Radical Potential of Public Hearings: A Rhetorical Assessment of Resistance and Indecorous Voice in Public Participation Processes

Kathleen P. Hunt, Iowa State University
Nicholas Paliewicz, University of Louisville
Danielle Endres, University of Utah

Adapting to Conflict: Rhetorical Refusals of Scientific Publication Norms

Adrienne P. Lamberti, University of Northern Iowa

Speaking of Place

Colene J. Lind, Kansas State University

Scientists as Audience: Science Communicators as Mediators of Wicked Problems

Katherine R. McKiernan, San Diego State University
Andra Steinbergs, San Diego State University

Agency Theory: Toward a Framework for Research in the Public’s Support for and Understanding of Science

Peter Muhlberger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lisa Pytlik-Zillig, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Deliberative Privilege

Sally French Paulson, Delta State University

Transmedating NEST: Building a Habitat for Ecological Storymaking

Tyler Quiring, University of Maine

Cultural Discourses of Public Engagement: Insights for Energy System Transformation

Lydia Reinig, University of Colorado Boulder
Leah Sprain, University of Colorado Boulder

Engaged Science and Working with Youth for Sustainable Cities: A Partnership Between “East High Cares” and an Iowa State University Research Team

Linda Shenk, Iowa State University
Nadia Anderson, Iowa State University
Ulrike Passe, Iowa State University
Caroline Krejci, Iowa State University

Health, the Environment, and Sustainability: Emergent Communication Lessons across Highly Diverse Public Participation Activities

Linda Silka, University of Maine
Bridie McGreavy, University of Maine
David Hart, University of Maine

Bridging Power Asymmetries in Facilitating Public Participation

Zulham Sirajuddin, Iowa State University
Nancy Grudens-Schuck, Iowa State University

Whose Honey, Whose Hive: Rhetorical Agency in the Colony Collapse Disorder

W. Kurt Stavenhagen, Syracuse University

Communicative Space and the Maritime Agora

Chui-Ling Tam, University of Calgary

Expertise and Self-Determination in Public Participation in Science

Scott Tanona, Kansas State University

Rare’s Conservation Campaigns: Community Decision Making and Public Participation for Behavioral Change in Indonesia, China, and Latin America

Sarah D. Upton, University of Texas at El Paso
Carlos A. Tarin, University of Texas at El Paso
Stacey K. Sowards, University of Texas at El Paso
Kenneth C. C. Yang, University of Texas at El Paso

Understanding the Influence of Power and Perspective-Taking on Collaborative Decision-Making

Dara M. Wald, Iowa State University
Elizabeth A. Segal, Arizona State University
Erik W. Johnston, Arizona State University
Ajay Vinze, Arizona State University

Barriers to Museums’ Informal Efforts to Facilitate Public Engagement with Science

Judith McIntosh White, University of New Mexico

Twitter Chats and Public Engagement: Examining Concern and Critique in Questions About the Ebola Epidemic

Rachel Young, University of Iowa
Kajsa E. Dalrymple, University of Iowa
Melissa Tully, University of Iowa

Frankenbug Meets the Conch Republic: Engagement, Expertise, and “Strategic Irrationality” in Public Scientific Controversies

Tanya Zarlengo, University of South Florida