Most of us started higher education careers because we wanted to make a difference—we wanted to help build better worlds. But to do so, our research, skills, and creativity need to reach broader audiences than just fellow scholars.

Public Engagement and Impact is a self-paced, online course that helps you share your research and build community to make concrete change beyond the academy.

Whether you’re brand-new to taking your work public or a seasoned public intellectual looking to broaden your reach, this course can help you develop public engagement strategies that fit your resources and goals—including how to do public engagement online amidst social distancing.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the Course

    • How to Take This Course

  • 2

    Module 1: Why Go Public

    • Why Public Engagement Matters

    • Identifying Your Best Strategies

  • 3

    Module 2: Audiences

    • Adapting Your Voice

    • Writing Crossover Books

  • 4

    Module 3: Trade Publishers

    • Finding a Literary Agent

    • Pitching to Publications

    • Working with Editors

  • 5

    Module 4: Making It Count

    • Getting Paid

    • Tenure and Promotion

  • 6

    Module 5: Social Media

    • Social Media Basics

    • Surviving Trolls

  • 7

    Module 6: Multimedia Work

    • Podcasting and Video

    • Public Events

    • Born-Digital Texts

  • 8

    Module 7: Collaborations

    • Working with Journalists

    • Working with Community Organizations

  • 9

    Module 8: Promotion

    • Building Your Website

    • Delivering a Great Author Talk

    • Planning Your Virtual Book Tour

Course format

  • When you enroll, you get immediate access to all course materials.

  • Each lesson has a video, written transcript, and slide deck that explain key podcasting elements and take you through how to implement the material to create your own show.

  • You can work through the lessons at your own pace, in whichever order you prefer.

Dr. Kate Drabinski

Course instructor

Hi, I’m Dr. Kate Drabinski, a senior lecturer in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and education director at Ideas on Fire. I am a full time teacher who also writes for public outlets as a regular newspaper columnist, teaches service learning courses, and works with community groups as a tour guide and storyteller. I’ve become increasingly convinced that what really matters to many of us scholars is making an impact on the world outside the university. This means sharing research in multiple ways, being part of teams addressing real problems, and getting students and colleagues involved in this work with us. Over the years many folks have told me that while they long to do this kind of work, they aren’t sure how—especially when this work doesn’t “count” to help them get and keep academic jobs. This course is my answer to these concerns. I designed this course for academics who are trying to figure out the best way to engage publics beyond the university, whether that is by writing for public audiences, producing multimedia work, actively making knowledge on social media, or working with community partners in ethical ways both in and beyond the classroom. Come join me!
Kate Drabinski wearing a blue shirt and glasses

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the enrollment period for the course?

    Once the course launches, it is always open for enrollment. You can join any time.

  • How do I access course materials?

    The course is hosted on the educational platform Thinkific (you're already here!). To access course materials after you enroll, log into your Thinkific account and navigate to the course page.

  • How long do I have access to course materials?

    You always have 24/7 access to course materials. You do not lose access after a period of time. You also get access to all additional lessons or materials we add to the course in the future.

  • Are assignments graded?

    The course is entirely self-paced and self-administered so no there are no graded assignments. Upon enrolling you get immediate access to all course lessons so you can work through them with the order and pace that makes the most sense for your needs.

  • Does the course offer a certificate of completion?