One of the keynote speakers at the Council of Graduate Schools’ recent conference was Alan Alda. The actor may seem like an unlikely choice, but in addition to acting, Alda is also a co-founder of the Center for Communicating Science at SUNY Stony Brook.
At the conference, Alda demonstrated how he uses improvisational techniques to help graduate students speak more comfortably and intelligibly about their research. Ultimately, Stony Book hopes to require communication courses for all graduate students. Inside Higher Ed reports that several deans who heard the presentation are eager to replicate the plan in their graduate schools.
Requiring more classes may sound like a burden to graduate students, but learning to communicate more effectively will help them in all other parts of their academic lives.