Thinking about Teaching the Intersections of Science, Ethics and

What defines Science Ethics and Public Policy?
Thinking about teaching Science Ethics and Public Policy
What are the most frequently asked questions (with answers) about this topic?
Questions mainly revolved around potential formats for integrating teaching across the
disciplines with the aim of equipping students with adequate knowledge to make informed
decisions as citizens in policy areas involving scientific advances. Group members discussed
various formats as well as learning outcomes. We ultimately decided that a team taught
course, focused on a contemporary issue (such as vaccines, stem cell research, GMO’s) as a
vehicle for presenting knowledge from different disciplines would be optimal. We agreed that
an applied learning exercise – such as a mock town hall - would be incorporated at the end of
the course as a mode for students to integrate knowledge from different areas.
What links, articles, books, and other resources related to this topic did your FLC find
the most useful?
The articles that we shared were largely focused on our individual subject areas, which we all
read as a way to break the ice and formulate ideas, As such they are not particularly relevant
for those seeking to glean general information from this report. Two more useful pieces in that
regard, ones that we reviewed as a group addressed the topic of integrated learning.
Lana Ivanitskaya, Deborah Clark, George Montgomery, and Ronald Primeau "Interdisciplinary
Learning - Process and Outcomes" Innovative Higher Education, Vol. 27, No. 2, Winter 2002 (
C ° 2002)
LinkEJH Spelt, HJA Biemans, H Tobi, PA Luning… - Educational Psychology - “Teaching and
learning in interdisciplinary higher education: A systematic review” Educational Psychology
What do the members of this FLC have to say about Science Ethics and Public Policy
(opportunities, challenges, or other thoughts)?
As a group we were surprised at the range of ideas and materials we discussed throughout
the year. We all learned a lot from other members of the FLC with respect to both substance
and teaching style. We confident that the course we have partially designed will be
implemented in Spring 2016 and optimistic that it will be well received. We believe we will
continue to learn from each other and benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of this project
as we proceed.
What are the most significant accomplishments of this FLC?
We commenced designing and planning a course that we hope to offer Spring 2016. We plan
to continue to work on course design and content through the fall semester.
Here is a skeleton overview:
This is a team taught interdisciplinary course offered by faculty in biology, public
health, political science and communication. Students will rotate among faculty in two
blocks of five weeks focusing on content specific to each faculty members’ expertise.
The remaining time in the semester will be devoted to preparation and implementation
of an applied learning exercise in which students will integrate knowledge from the
various disciplines.
Week 1 – all students together – intro to the class, faculty and issue.
Weeks 2-6 – students rotate through the 5 faculty members, spending one week with
each. This first rotation could include basic content in each discipline – biology,
biology in lab, public health, communication, and political science.
Week 7 – all students together – mid-term assessment and speaker.
Weeks 8-12 –students rotate among the 5 faculty members spending their second
week with each.
Weeks 13-14 – students work in teams with faculty members to prepare for and
execute an applied learning exercise e.g. a public hearing on a current policy topic.
This course aims to provide students with knowledge in the areas of science, ethics
and public policy such that they are able to make informed choices as citizens in an
increasingly technological world. In other words the course aspires to equip students
with the scientific and ethical literacy they need to be effective citizens. The course will
use a current issue in public policy as a vehicle for students to learn, integrate and
apply knowledge across the disciplines to a contemporary issue. More specific
learning outcomes are:
 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the scientific method and an ability to assess
scientific information.
 Students will demonstrate knowledge of ethical theories.
 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the public policy process.
 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the rhetoric of science.
 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the interaction between science, ethics and
public policy.
 Students will apply knowledge in science, rhetoric, ethics, and public policy to a
contemporary issue.
Who at Brockport (either in or outside the FLC) can assist with Science Ethics and
Public Policy?
Members of the FLC – specifically; Dr C. Lending, Dr A Rich, Dr. J Balog, Dr. R Meijia, Dr. D
Levy, Dr. D. Hartnett and Dr. S Orr