Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



UNL STEM Outreach White Paper, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, December 2020.


Copyright 2020, the authors. Used by permission.


  • A survey-based needs assessment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a research-intensive land grant university, explored ways to meet the goal of increasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach
  • 40% of surveyed faculty reported barriers to doing STEM outreach
  • Over 50% of faculty reported an inability to individually resolve barriers to STEM outreach in ways that ensure broader community engagement in their research through outreach
  • Using a sociological lens, the current study examined institutional-level barriers and enablers to faculty engaging in outreach
  • Results suggest several institutional approaches to STEM outreach, including creating infrastructure with experts in science communication; providing science communication expert consultants; teaching courses in science communication; measuring and rewarding outreach (for example, giving “popular” talks, writing letters to the editor, running after school programs).