Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW appoints Rosalind Reid to new program post

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, Inc., has named Rosalind Reid, the former editor of American Scientist magazine and currently executive director of Harvard's Institute for Applied Computational Science, to its newly created program director post. Reid will begin her duties in January 2012.

The new position represents a significant expansion of responsibilities for CASW's current and future programs, including the work of the New Horizons program director, a title that has now been retired. As part of her portfolio, Reid will plan and produce the annual New Horizons in Science briefing held in tandem with the National Association of Science Writers' professional development workshops. In addition, and critically, she will coordinate and manage frequent and robust freshening of the CASW website; and, working as part of a team led by CASW's executive director and members of the board's program committee, develop and execute new Web-based initiatives. These would include webinar updates and other highly integrated projects that extend the reach and impact of New Horizons while also leveraging the CASW brand. Reid will also help recruit partnerships with other organizations and complement fund-raising efforts.

"These initiatives all are aimed at better serving the science writing community as well as other constituencies interested in advancing public understanding of science," said Cristine Russell, president of CASW.

"It's hard to imagine anyone better suited than Ros to take on this new assignment," said Ben Patrusky, CASW's executive director. "Not only is she exceptionally well-informed and conversant with new developments on the frontiers of science  a key prerequisite for anyone tasked with orchestrating the annual New Horizons sessions, but also she is exceedingly knowledgeable about the digital world and, as such, stands ready to help CASW exploit the potential of the Web and digital communication and innovate to maximum effect. Beyond that," Patrusky added, "she possesses just the sort of well-demonstrated organizational and administrative skills that are central to new post's demands."

Reid was editor of American Scientist, the interdisciplinary magazine of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, from 1992 to 2008. She was selected as the first Journalist in Residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2003 and soon after that took another "science immersion" leave as a fellow at the Harvard Initiative in Innovative Computing. Co-organizer of the MIT/Harvard Image and Meaning workshop series on visual communication of science, Reid is currently assistant dean for external programs at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science and executive director of the School's Institute for Applied Computational Science. She will continue her Harvard work part-time.

Reid did her undergraduate work at Syracuse University, earned an M.A. at Duke and spent eight years writing for newspapers in Maine and North Carolina.  She went on to learn the science beat as a research news editor at North Carolina State University.  Reid joined the CASW board in 2007, the same year she was inducted as an honorary life member of Sigma Xi in recognition of her distinguished service to science and science communication. She will step down from the CASW board to assume her new role.

The decision to establish the new position of program director emerged from an ongoing strategic planning process, begun three years ago, by a special committee of the board. The committee was charged with defining how CASW might best fulfill its mission amidst rapidly changing practices in journalism and in the expectation that CASW's future success will depend heavily on Web-based programs and digital media. 

In announcing the appointment, CASW paid tribute to journalist and author Paul Raeburn for his outstanding contributions as a longtime board member; for his dedicated labors, during the past seven years, as New Horizons program director and for the important role he played in assuring the continued success of the joint NASW/CASW ScienceWriters meeting.

"Paul's efforts clearly enabled and supported a years-long transition for CASW's hallmark program, efforts that have set the stage for the changes and expansion of CASW services envisioned by the board," said Russell. "We are also pleased that he has agreed to continue as a New Horizon program consultant during the transition." That consultancy is to run through May 1, 2012 when planning for ScienceWriters2012, scheduled for the Research Triangle in North Carolina, will be well under way.