Abstract: Strategic communication is purposeful and aimed at concrete outcomes. Being able to envision the pathways through which those outcomes can plausibly result is a distinct advantage. In this informal seminar, Prof Ham will talk with us about his thematic approach to communication and what he calls “making a difference on purpose.” We have much to learn about the causal effects of communication on human cognition and behavior. But we know quite enough to do better than chance alone. Armed with a substantiated model of communication influence, environmental communicators can significantly increase their odds of making a difference on purpose.
Biography: Sam H Ham is Professor Emeritus of communication psychology and international conservation in the University of Idaho’s Department of Conservation Social Sciences. Sam’s research has focused on the role of interpretation in parks, protected areas and sustainable tourism destinations and in applying communication theory to heritage and nature‐based tour guiding, travellers’ philanthropy, and other free‐choice learning settings. In the past 10 years, his research on the strategic use of interpretation to influence visitor behaviour has led to significant advances in protected area management across the globe. Sam has authored two of the world’s leading texts on applied interpretation, including his newest book, Interpretation—A Guide for Making a Difference on Purpose and the worldwide best‐seller, Environmental Interpretation—A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets, which was published in four languages. He also has authored nearly 400 other publications and has presented in excess of 50 keynote addresses at professional conferences and symposia. Sam’s training in applied communication has reached more than 50,000 people across the United States, Australia, and in 47 other countries. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for his teaching and training, including the NAI Fellow Award, University of Idaho’s Excellence in Outreach Award, and the University of Idaho’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest honour bestowed by the university on one of its own faculty members. In 2007, he was honoured by Clemson University with the William C. Everhart Award for his lifetime contributions to environmental and heritage interpretation across the world.