The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) has recognized Deborah Byrd, founder and president of EarthSky: A Clear Voice for Science, with its 2011 Arts & Sciences Advocacy Award. The announcement was made November 4, 2011 at the 46th Annual Meeting in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
The CCAS Arts & Sciences Advocacy Award honors an individual or organization demonstrating exemplary advocacy for the arts and sciences, flowing from a deep commitment to the intrinsic worth of liberal arts education.
In presenting the award to Ms. Byrd, CCAS President Valerie Gray Hardcastle, dean of the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati (on the right in photo), announced that CCAS was honoring her for creating and sustaining a digital media company that interviews scientists and brings their research and insights to the attention of millions of people worldwide, through radio, podcast, Internet, and other social media. Hardcastle said further
Deborah is an ideal example of what a liberal education can do for a person. She was an English major who discovered science as a senior, when she finally enrolled in a required general education course. She fell in love with science and then went on to merge both areas into a productive and important career.
In accepting the award, Byrd thanked the Council and noted:
We at EarthSky are thrilled and honored to accept this award. In today’s world, with a human population of 7 billion, science is more than ever vital to the well-being and sustainability of human society. EarthSky advocates for science and brings the voices of scientists to millions of people, with the goal of enabling them to understand and support scientific insights and discoveries.
She told the assembled deans:
We are grateful to the members of CCAS for their work in supporting an environment conducive to scientific research.
Since its founding in 1991, EarthSky – a clear voice for science on 1,200+ broadcast outlets globally – has featured scientific experts speaking on topics ranging from space to earth to the human world. Each EarthSky podcast is heard in English and Spanish – 4 million times in the U.S. – with millions more listeners overseas on outlets including World Radio Network and Voice of America’s Daybreak Asia/International Edition.
The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, whose Board unanimously chose Deborah Byrd as its 2011 CCAS Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award winner, is based at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. CCAS is the largest national association of Colleges of Arts and Sciences with approximately 1,600 members at nearly 500 institutions of higher education. Taken together, their member institutions educate more than four million students per year.
Previous winners of the CCAS Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award have included the Phi Beta Kappa Society (2008); philosopher Dr. Martha Nussbaum (2009); and the American Council of Learned Societies (2010).
The EarthSky Promise: To bring the ideas, strategies and research results of scientists to people around the world, with the goal of illuminating pathways to a sustainable future.