Ruth, T., Rumble, J., Lundy, L., Galindo, S., Carter, H., & Folta, K. (2020). Motivational influences on land-grant faculty engagement in science communication. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(2), 77-92. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.02077

To address knowledge gaps related to science, faculty will have to effectively engage the public in science communication. This is particularly true at land-grant institutions where tenure-track faculty have appointments in teaching, research, and Extension. However, tenure-track faculty have found it difficult to balance their professional obligations and have struggled to engage the public through Extension efforts. The purpose of this study was to determine how the Expectancy Value Theory (EVT) of Achievement Motivation can explain tenure-track, land-grant faculty’s engagement in effective science communication. An online survey instrument was distributed to a census of tenure-track faculty at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Respondents had positive or neutral task values associated with science communication, believed they had good ability, and would be successful at science communication in the future. Research appointment, cost belief, and ability beliefs were all predictors of effective science communication and accounted for 64% of the variance in effective science communication. EVT was found to be a useful model in understanding faculty’s motivation to engage in science communication. However, perceptions of ability must be addressed, through formal or informal education, if faculty are expected to engage in effective science communication or Extension programming.

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