Westar Lectureship

The CASCA-Westar Lectureship in Astronomy is a program that makes it possible to arrange for a professional astronomer to visit and share with your community the most recent discoveries about the universe!

Background and Introduction

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) has established a Lectureship — the CASCA-Westar Lectureship (CWL) — whose mandate is to bring highlights of current astronomical research to the general public and students using Canadian professional astronomers. The CWL will primarily sponsor visits by professional astronomers to schools and communities that currently do not have easy access to nearby post-secondary institutions with astronomy programs and facilities.

There are few sciences that resonate as strongly with the public of all ages than astronomy. This is why local observatories (professional and public), planetariums and science centers are so successful at attracting public attention. Where possible, this initiative will be integrated with the highly successful local programs of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and other astronomy clubs.

Typical Visit

An average CWL visit will normally last about two days, and involve 2-3 presentations in the local area. For example, in addition to the main public evening lecture, there might be a presentation to students at a community college, another to a high school, etc. The goal is to maximize the benefit of the CWL to the host community. All travel expenses will be paid.

Application to Become a Westar Lecturer

CASCA strongly encourages interested members to consider applying to become a Westar Lecturer.

A Westar lecturer:
- is actively engaged in the field of astronomy (normally faculty and post-doc level members);
- has a strong interest and has shown competency in public outreach;
- is willing to discuss outreach techniques and learn from outreach professionals;
- is available to travel to a remote location for a 2-3 day visit during a given year;
- commits for an initial period of 2 years.

Selection criteria:
- Ability to explain a subject in a way that is accessible to the general public.
- Capacity to engage different types of audiences (e.g., young and adults) and interact with the media.
- Interest in public outreach and willingness to learn about public outreach and education.

Selection process:
1. CASCA members will receive a general invitation (email list, CASCA meetings) to fill out an online form.
2. Nominees should normally have demonstrated a strong competency in the area of public education and outreach. Examples of demonstrated competence could include links to past presentations, podcasts, etc.
3. Selection will be done by the CASCA EPO committee (or a subset of this committee). The CASCA Board will make the official invitations.

Members can apply to become a Lecturer using this simple APPLICATION FORM.

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