Dr. Rayvon Fouché Delivers 2023 Henry and Bryna David Lecture

On October 12, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) featured Dr. Rayvon Fouché, Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, as the 2023 Henry and Bryna David Lecturer. The lecture was titled “Embracing the Social in Social Science: Notes for a Technoscientific Future” and addressed contemporary challenges in the scientific community. At the core of the discussion was analyzing the reasons for the reduction of public trust in scientific research, deviations from expert standards, and the feeling that science often excludes or misrepresents certain groups.

Fouché’s research underscores this, finding that 80% of university faculty members hail from only 20% of academic institutions, reflecting systemic imbalances in representation and inclusivity, and could reinforce concentration of thought at universities.

To combat this concentration, Fouché proposed several actionable solutions. One prioritization is to include culturally relevant initiatives. Proposing diversification of thought initiatives such as the DISCO Network. DISCO is dedicated to integrating humanistic, social science, and artistic approaches to digital studies. Through its five research labs, DISCO nurtures new methodologies by asking unconventional, culturally relevant questions, offering scholarly training, and cultivates public programming that pave the way for a more inclusive digital future.

In his concluding remarks, Fouché captured the essence of his work, stating, “Who I am impacts the questions I ask about the world.” Looking ahead, the journey to a harmonious technoscientific future requires more than just dialogue. It calls for genuine commitment to fostering open participation in discussions that transcend pre-existing beliefs, which is pivotal for rebuilding public trust in scientific integrity.

A video recording of the Henry and Bryna David Lecture will typically be available on the National Academies website within a few weeks after the event.


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