Biggio Center awarded more than $200K from the Centers for Disease Control to expand crisis training resources

Published: September 09, 2022

Article body

The Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, or Biggio Center, has received a $220,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, to expand its development of modules used by the agency to better prepare crisis communication professionals. The new award follows a $90,000 grant from CDC last year to develop an initial series of courses.

As part of the CDC’s efforts to strengthen its response to public health crises, the grant engages experts from the Biggio Center in designing virtual modules that enhance and streamline public health guidance provided to strategic communicators. A key part of the agency’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Management Communication initiative, the interactive courses support the CDC’s efforts to train reliable and credible communication experts as part of its goals to foster public trust and improve responsiveness and timeliness.

“With this additional funding, the Biggio Center will continue serving as a resource to the CDC and support the agency’s efforts to amplify critical messaging around public health issues,” said Asim Ali, executive director. “By bringing together our best designers and production specialists, we are creating interactive courses that help professionals translate complex messaging into relatable strategies using many of the same design and production approaches we use to teach high-quality and engaging courses.”

Established in 1993, the Biggio Center is Auburn’s primary resource for faculty development and provides diverse programming and support to the university’s teaching and learning environment. With an emphasis on engaged, active student learning, or EASL, approaches, the center offers a cadre of developmental programming for faculty and other professionals through grant funding, mentorship, and other seminars. As part of its renewed funding, the Biggio Center will deliver an innovative and impactful series of modules that include tools, training, and expertise across topics that include risk communication, scenario planning, and messaging.

The renewal comes following the CDC’s review of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic and identification of opportunities to improve the issuance of public health guidance among crisis management professionals. Since its initial award, the Biggio Center has worked with CDC professionals to support introductory modules, allowing the agency to strengthen its community engagement programs to address public health issues more consistently.

The grant is led by principal investigator Ali and co-pis Shawndra Bowers, associate director of learning experience design, and Ali Sattari, media production specialist.