Chancellor Zimpher, Alan Alda Announce “Communicating Science” Pilot Program

May 3, 2017

Train the Trainer Program To Build on Success of Stony Brook University

Program To Include Training, Workshops, New York City-based Hub at the SUNY Global Center

Garden City – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and acclaimed actor, writer, and director Alan Alda today announced an expanded partnership between SUNY and Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science to offer the center’s highly-acclaimed training to doctoral students at up to five additional SUNY campuses.

The Alan Alda Center has received widespread recognition for its training, which provides students with skills to communicate their work effectively to the public, public officials, the media, and others outside of their discipline. SUNY will take the program to scale by offering additional training and workshops, and expanding access to programming through a New York City-based at the SUNY Global Center.

"Alan Alda and his team at Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science have developed innovative techniques and effective practices for explaining even the most complex matters of science, and we look forward to bringing their highly successful program to more SUNY students," said Chancellor Zimpher. "This pilot program is a perfect example of SUNY doing what it does best – identifying what works at one campus and bringing it to scale so that more of our students benefit. Thank you to Alan for his leadership and vision as we pursue this exciting opportunity."

"Through our partnership with SUNY and Stony Brook University, we've had a real impact on the communication of science and medicine," said Alan Alda. "We’ve trained over 8,000 scientists and health care professionals to communicate their work in a clear and engaging manner, and another 30,000 scientists have been exposed to our unique approach in plenaries and lectures across the United States and around the world. This new pilot gives us an opportunity to capitalize on one of SUNY’s greatest strengths – its systemness, as Chancellor Zimpher says – and bring our successful training to more students within SUNY and throughout New York State."

"Thanks to the passion and innovative work of Alan Alda and the Alda Center, Stony Brook University is at the vanguard of demonstrating the importance of effective science communication," said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. "Alan and his expert team at the Alda Center have been driving this big idea and building momentum from Washington D.C. to all corners of academia. Establishing a relationship with SUNY partner campuses will empower those as we have been empowered which will ultimately help advance SUNY’s research mission and we are pleased to be a part of this."

"Our expanded partnership with The State University of New York will bring the important work of the Alda Center to an entirely new and tremendous scale," said Dr. Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Alda Center and a professor in the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. "The transformation that our students make in being able to convey the importance and impact of their work can be really amazing, and we’re excited about the opportunity to share the experience with more SUNY students."

The pilot program announced today includes three key components:

  • Train the Trainer Program: Over the next two-years, beginning this fall, the Alda Center will work with SUNY campuses to roll out a rigorous training bootcamp followed by a "train the trainer" experience. This will include shadowing, mentorship, and ultimately, the delivery of Alda trainings under the supervision of a lead instructor from Stony Brook University.
  • Workshops: The Alda Center will host workshops at each of the five SUNY campuses, giving trainees the opportunity to train their peers while also supporting STEM faculty and students on their home campus. Each campus will host at least one workshop that provides training for 16 – 32 participants.
  • NYC Alda Center Hub at the SUNY Global Center: The Alda Center will establish a New York City hub at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan to expand access to workshops and coursework associated with the Alda Center’s Advanced Graduate Certificates in Communicating Science and Communicating Medicine, and host meetings associated with program development.
About the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

Since 2010, the Alda Center has reached nearly 30,000 scientists and medical professionals through over 300 plenaries, workshops, and coaching sessions. In addition, the center has trained over 8,000 scientists and medical professionals. The Center has conducted trainings at universities, government agencies, national labs, non-profits, companies, hospitals in the U.S. and abroad. More than 600 graduate students have taken at least one of our 11 courses in Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, and several graduate programs now require our courses.

In addition, since 2016, the Alda Center launched the Alda-Kavli Learning Center, a website that provides online learning opportunities for workshop participants and science communicators worldwide. Since launch, the Learning Center website has generated over 34,750 site visits and nearly 99,000 page views.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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