Course Development

Jesuit education is organized around the idea of educating the person for “service to humanity,” and SCU states as its goal “the preparation of students to assume leadership roles in society”. Students in the arts and humanities may view science and technology simply as aspects of society they can passively consume or reject, while students in the natural sciences or engineering may be content with thinking about their activities in the lab in isolation, indifferent to their social conditions and impacts. These narrow perspectives inhibit the more complex and critical thinking our students need in order to capably and responsibly shape our world's future. The purpose of STS in the core is to help our students develop this richer understanding and to develop the confidence and capacities to become leaders and citizens of a scientific and technological world.

All students have to fulfill STS learning goals and learning objectives. Most students will do so with a single STS course in the “Explorations” section of the new core, normally taken during sophomore or junior year. STS courses are likely to be more effective if students have first fulfilled their social science and natural science requirements as “Foundations.” Students in some majors (e. g. Engineering) will take an STS-themed Critical Thinking & Writing sequence that, combined with other coursework in their major, will fulfill the STS requirement for these majors only. Business School majors will be required to fulfill their STS requirement with OMIS 34.

Goals of STS Undergraduate Education at SCU

  1. Scientific Inquiry: Reflected in STS Learning Objective 2. Students need to develop an understanding not just of how science and/or technology impact society, but how science and/or technology themselves develop. As such, STS courses will actually help students understand some specific methods of inquiry by which science and/or technology have progressed.
  2. Science & Technology: Reflected in all the STS Learning Objectives, this is the goal of helping students to understand “the formative influences, dynamics, social impacts, and ethical consequences of scientific and technological development” (SCU Core 2009 Overview)
  3. Complexity: Reflected in STS Learning Objective 1.  STS courses will help students move beyond simplistic or shallow conceptions of science, technology and society, and their relationship, encouraging and enabling them to explore the complexities that mark their dynamics and their effects on one another.
  4. Critical Thinking: Reflected in STS Learning Objective 3. This indicates that students need more than a passive understanding of the dynamics of STS – they also need to be able to actively and critically engage those dynamics and their significance for our lives.  STS courses will help students develop the analytical and evaluative skills to form their own independent judgments about the impacts of science and technology on society, and vice versa.

STS Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize and articulate the complexity of the relationship between science and/or technology and society.
  2. Comprehend the relevant science and/or technology and explain how science and/or technology advance through the processes of inquiry and experiment.
  3. Analyze and evaluate the social impact of science and/or technology and how science and/or technology are themselves impacted by the needs and demands of society.

Integrating STS Courses into the Curriculum

Faculty are encouraged to remind students of the Values in Science & Technology (VIST) Pathway and STS minor on their syllabus and in a classroom announcement. All classes that fulfill the new STS requirement are automatically included in the minor, and there are over 100 classes with science & technology themes in the VIST pathway. For more information, read about the STS Minor and the Values in Science & Technology Pathway.

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