June 03, 2008

Technological influences shape new degree program

Posted: June 03, 2008

Students in Arizona interested in studying the role that science and technology have on societies around the world, and the structure and mechanisms of government or globalization, will have a new degree program available to them at ASU this fall.

The School of Applied Arts & Sciences at ASU’s Polytechnic campus is rolling out a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society, which will help establish the university as a leader in this area.

“We are truly excited about the new program and its immense promise at ASU,” says Nicholas Alozie, professor and head of social and behavioral sciences. “The new degree has an important niche within the state of Arizona.”

In fact, ASU is the only higher education institution in the state offering this type of comprehensive, interdisciplinary degree. The program’s core provides students with a strong understanding of social systems and theory; the history and development of science and technology, with emphasis on societal control of science and technological pursuits; analytical techniques required for a sophisticated study of science and society; and the basics of science and technology studies.

The degree is designed to complement ASU’s emerging interdisciplinary doctoral program in human and social dimensions of science and technology. It offers three focus areas, which are:

• Science, technology and governance.

• Global technology and development.

• General science and technology studies.

“Each area is tailored to develop expertise in different aspects, such as the interaction of science and technology with issues of governance or for the understanding of how technology, processes of globalization and society influence one another,” Alozie says. “Students outside of the major can use the general science, technology and society focus to design a double major, minor, or to pursue interests such as pre-law or pre-med.”

The curriculum will benefit students majoring in engineering, science, technology or other programs, Alozie says.

“Educating future engineers, scientists and other professionals about how their innovations and activities will influence society – and the societal imperatives that control the way they do their work – is as important as the innovation itself,” he says. “There has never been a better time to place studying the interaction of science, technology and human systems center stage in our educational system in Arizona.”

Students who graduate with the degree will use the degree as a launching pad for careers in government at all levels, international organizations (the United Nations, International Monetary Fund), business and nonprofit organizations. Moreover, students interested in a broad-based preparation for graduate and professional schools will find the program useful.

This type of degree is needed as part of a sound 21st century education, Alozie says, adding: “We are moving more and more into a world of technological determinism. Whether we are asking questions regarding the organization and governance of human communities, cultural change, sustainability, public health, or national security and public safety, science and technology are never far behind.”

More information can be found online at www.poly.asu.edu/saas/socialbehavioral or by calling (480) 727-1987. For information to enroll, visit the Web site www.asu.edu/prospective.