Each year, Concordia selects ten PhD students to represent Concordia’s interdisciplinary diversity and excellence in research. The Scholars engage with our wider community to share the significance of their work and its impact on society.
The program was developed in 2016, in partnership with the Montreal Gazette, to showcase the work that Concordia doctoral candidates bring to the public through diversified communication channels. After five successful years, the program was re-envisioned in 2021 to give this unique professional development training to more doctoral students. The changes also intensify the program’s impact through new and renewed partnerships, modernized communication channels, and individualized coaching.
For Winter 2022, a re-envisioned Public Scholars program is being launched. The changes reinforce the successes of the first five years of the program and open this unique professional development opportunity to a wider doctoral student population.
The program changes include:
Opening the program to all PhD students and not limiting it to PhD candidates
Requiring applicants to complete the mandatory, qualifying Strategic Public Communications Training in the Winter semester, before applying to join the program in the Spring semester; the Strategic Public Communications Training is open to 100 PhD students where only ten of these students will be selected as the Public Scholars
Modernizing and diversifying the scholars’ deliverables to ensure their outreach and impact
Reinforcing existing partnerships and adding new training and outreach partnerships
Empowering scholars to take greater ownership of the program deliverables through self-reporting
The program empowers PhD students to articulate and actively share the significance of emerging research beyond academia by coaching them to effectively navigate professional networks and communicate through various public channels. The three main objectives of the program are:
Public engagement: Prepare PhD students to play an influential role through advanced communications and public relations training and deliverables, by:
Producing regular social media content on various channels (i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn)
Publishing a set number of lasting public-facing communication material (i.e. op-eds, LinkedIn articles, Concordia news spotlight and video)
Engaging the news media (i.e. print, television, radio interviews, and podcasts)
Mobilizing their knowledge through hosting events with campus and community partners (i.e. 3MT, MT180, site visits, and guest talks)
Measuring impact: Raise awareness of the importance of research in the modern knowledge economy by tracking Scholar’s public engagement, by:
Collecting monthly data on each Scholar’s outreach (ex. social media analytics, article views, reporting media interviews, news monitoring, etc.)
Analyzing the program’s research dissemination impact using collected data
Diversifying professional development and career exploration: Prepare Scholars for a wide range of career opportunities through greater self-awareness of their skills and research impact, by:
Empowering Scholars to discover applications of their research and career paths beyond the academic context
Expanding their professional network to mentors and key players in their field
Building confidence to speak and write publicly about their area of expertise
Acquiring leadership skills through mentorship of undergraduate students
PhD students interested in joining the Public Scholars program need to first complete the Strategic Public Communications Training in winter 2022 before submitting their application to join the Public Scholars program in Spring 2022. Deadline to register for the training is January 26, 2022.
The Strategic Public Communications Training is an eight-week seminar (not for credit) that teaches PhD students research dissemination, content creation, and strategic social media management. The seminar comprises six two-hour workshops plus asynchronous activities, and runs from January to March. Throughout the training, students will be asked to apply their learning by producing regular social media content, a research pitch video, or a LinkedIn article.
Students receive a certificate of completion, and a notation on their GradProSkills record, after completion of the program requirements.