Reaching Beyond Academia

We advance academic scholarship and teaching by guiding it toward specific impact in the world. 

The Program in Public Scholarship works to establish Arts & Sciences at Washington University as a leader in translating our work and its importance to a broader audience. We develop new platforms to share our scholarship and increase our impact in the public and private sectors. To this end, we explore the translation and promotion of our scholarship in all forms and formats; partnerships with local institutions and organizations; and the development of innovative courses, internships, certificates, and degrees.  

We work one-on-one with scholars, collaborate with departments and other units on campus, and run regular workshops to increase the impact of Arts & Sciences research.

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Nancy E. Berg in The Conversation: Passover: The festival of freedom and the ambivalence of exile

Passover is the only holiday that marks the transition from exile to wandering, and not to homecoming, highlighting the complexity of exile.

Mark R. Rank in The Conversation: Why luck plays such a big role in hockey

The NHL playoffs are almost like a second season – two months of bruising, relentless play, as the top teams compete for the chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. The 16 hockey teams that have made it into the postseason owe a great deal of their success to the abilities of their players and the tactics of their coaching staffs. They should also thank their lucky stars.

A Theory of Public Scholarly Impact

What scholars do in their research and teaching can benefit audiences beyond the academy. Whether we think about books that get widely read, essays that go viral, radio interviews shared between friends, or illuminating video appearances, scholarly work has many ways to make an impact with ripple effects that spread out farther than the campus or one’s discipline. This type of work can happen accidentally or spontaneously; but it can also become part of a scholar’s practice. And public scholarly work is increasingly recognized by institutions, professional associations, and funding agencies: For example, the National Science Foundation rewards projects that show broader impacts on society; the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicates extensive grant opportunities to public humanities projects; the American Sociological Association includes public engagement and communication in their organizational mission. Across disciplines, scholars can become versed and skilled in the arts of public impact, by learning how to focus and frame their expertise in ways that that can reach—and help—broad audiences. 

A Signature Initiative

The Program in Public Scholarship is a signature initiative of the Arts & Sciences strategic plan.

Learn more about the plan