- The spectrum of Education and Public Outreach ranges from the scholarship of learning and teaching of astronomy in tertiary institutions to casual conversations about astronomy at parties. Within this spectrum are activities that can be broadly identified as:
- Formal: preparation and delivery of primary and secondary school level curriculum materials; tertiary level lecturing/tutoring; adult education classes; teacher training and related professional development.
- Informal: magazine articles; media releases and related media opportunities; astronomy and space-themed exhibitions; public lectures; citizen science projects; and other public events such as “star parties”.
- Astronomy Education and Public Outreach has benefited greatly from the vital role played by planetariums, observatory visitor centres, public observatories, science centres and museums. Indeed, such facilities, and the many community-based Astronomical Societies, provide a much broader audience with direct access to astronomy than the professional astronomy community can achieve alone. EPOC aims to provide a conduit between the professional astronomy community and these sites and institutions, so that they can remain abreast of the latest Australian astronomical research and activities.
- As a Chapter of the ASA, EPOC aims to provide a professional focal point for ensuring that the Education and Public Outreach activities undertaken by its members continue to retain their high standard and value.
- EPOC functions as a community of practice, allowing members with a common interest to communicate their own successes (and occasional failures!) in preparing and presenting Education and Public Outreach activities.
- EPOC will proactively provide advice to the ASA Council on education and public outreach related matters. With the approval of the ASA Council, EPOC takes on the responsibility of acting strategically on matters of National importance, such as input to/commentary on major revisions to the Australian Curriculum, the implementation of new science engagement policies such as “Inspiring Australia”, or broader advocacy on issues relating to astronomy Education and Public Outreach through involvement in events such as “Science meets Parliament”. Submissions to be made on behalf of the ASA must first be approved by the ASA Council, or in urgent cases, the ASA Executive.
- While EPOC will occasionally produce Factsheets on topics of current astronomical interest of particular relevance to Australia, EPOC emphasizes providing assistance to its members with identifying relevant resources, rather than taking on responsibility for developing them.
- EPOC strongly encourages ASA student involvement and interest with its activities, as today’s astronomy student is already commencing on their career as tomorrow’s astronomy Education and Public Outreach professional.