STEP (and other) Spring ’23 Courses & Seminar


Two STEP courses will be offered this Spring, with parallel in-person (Blacksburg) and online sections: 

Decision Making, Reflective Practice, and Engagement in STEM-H Domains
SPIA 5124 (PSCI 5124) (STS 5124) – Wednesdays 4-6:45 pm (Todd Schenk –
In-depth, case-based exploration of roles of science, engineering and technology in policy-making. Application of theories, concepts and practices for policy decision-making, including stakeholder engagement, human behavior, and organizational development. Critical examination of ethics, and fostering of reflective practice. Implications of “big data”. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

Science, Technology, and Engineering in Policy Seminar 
STS 5154 (SPIA 5154) (PSCI 5154) – Fridays 12-1 pm (Saul Halfon –
Presentation of research on STEM-H, public policy, and ethics. Professional development. Research resources and tools. Project management and funding opportunities. Publishing standards and processes across disciplines. STEM-H and policy practitioner engagement. Multidisciplinary communication. May be repeated up to six times, as seminar and presentation topics will change each semester. Pass/Fail only. Pre: Graduate standing (1H, 1C)

NOTE: The seminar is open to the wider community; students and faculty/staff are encouraged to participate, even if not registered.

Other Spring ’23 Courses:

We are fortunate that there are a variety of other courses offered across campus that explore important issues at the science/policy interface. Some worth considering are:

Communicating Science
GRAD 5144 – Various times, with online and in-person sections (Carrie Kroehler – & Patty Raun –
Practice-based pedagogy techniques for effective communication about scientific, technical, and health research. Application of communication techniques across public and professional audiences and a variety of oral and written communication contexts. Pre: Graduate standing. NOTE: This course is highly recommended as a way to earn the two additional credits required to complete the STEP graduate certificate.

Energy and Environmental Security
GIA 5664 – Online and in-person in Arlington (Ariel Ahram –

This seminar examines the topic of energy and environmental security. The course is divided into three parts. The first is an overview of the role of energy in human society during the anthropocene era. The second section examines the consequences of hydrocarbons
production and trade for political, economic, and social development. The third section examines responses to global climate change, including patterns in coordination and conflict in climate change action, as well as adaptation and mitigation.

Advanced Topics in Technology Studies: Interdisciplinary Design Cultures
STS 6614 (CRN 20798) – Mondays 1-3:45 pm in Blacksburg (Matthew Wisniowski –
What does design mean and what has it meant in the past to engineers, industrial designers, scientists, architects, urban planners, social scientists, and STS practitioners? Do these diverse experts conceive of design differently? Do they have a monopoly on design? How do social conditions and assumptions shape the material, digital, and conceptual artifacts they produce? What values is design meant to embody? What happens when designs fail? Are some designs “good” and others “evil”? We employ a mix of thing theory, anthropology, history, sociology, and design research to investigate these multifaceted questions about the human-built world.

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