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2017 STS Making and Doing Program

Meeting Home | Making & Doing Main | Making and Doing 2017 | Category: Pedagogy

Making and Doing STS with Undergraduate Engineers: The UVA Approach

Wylie, Caitlin, University of Virginia


Sean Ferguson, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia; Toluwalogo Odumosu, University of Virginia; Rider W Foley, University of Virginia; Benjamin Laugelli, University of Virginia; Peter Westin, University of Virginia; Bryn Whiteley

The University of Virginia has one of the few STS programs embedded in an engineering school. As our colleague Deborah Johnson reported in Infusing Ethics into the Development of Engineers (2016), the program’s mission is to empower undergraduate engineers to “develop and demonstrate their capacity for social analysis, ethical reasoning, and written communication.” We hope to enrich the field and culture of professional engineering by releasing socially-aware and well-rounded engineers into the workforce and society. STS faculty provide four semesters of coursework for UVA’s undergraduate engineers. First-year students take a course on the history of technology and innovation that includes hands-on learning, technical writing, rocket pitches, and a group project of creating a patent application. Next, students choose a mid-level course on a variety of specialized STS topics, such as science policy, laboratory studies, anthropology of outer space, ethics of reproductive technologies, and entrepreneurship. Finally, in a year-long course sequence, fourth-year students learn STS theories and methods and then apply them in an STS research paper as a component of their senior thesis in engineering. Many STS scholars teach STEM students, as we do, and we want to create a space at 4S to share ideas, challenges, resources, and inspirations for serving this population of students. Several of our faculty will present “making and doing” activities from STS courses we teach at UVA, as a reflection of the personal and professional skills we help our students develop. Our exhibit will showcase student-produced artifacts, including undergraduate theses, proposals for the physical and social design of an imagined engineering research lab, and videos of students presenting their analyses of sociotechnical issues through the lens of STS theory. Our exhibit will also include faculty-produced lesson plans that demonstrate our pedagogical approaches to engaging engineers in “making and doing” STS. These include group activities about assessing and designing science policy, conducting participant observation in engineering labs, and role-playing games in which students evaluate technologies (e.g., geoengineering, nano tech, solar energy) from different economic, cultural, and political perspectives. We employ these strategies to spark engineering students’ interest in STS, broaden their conception of engineering as a human activity with social inspirations and implications, and help them develop crucial skills of problem definition, information literacy, and communication. Please join us to discuss how to “make and do” STS with undergraduate STEM students.

Browse 2017 Projects

Alac: STS Olfactorium

Battles: The Trial Balloon: buoyancy, embodied media, and patchy planetarity

Callahan: Rethinking Citizen Science through doing Citizen Science

Cardoso Llach: Tracing Design Ecologies

Clement: Snowden Surveillance Archive

Cohen: Toward Improving Public Policy for Struct Engrg Design of Bridge, Transport & Marine Infrastructure

Durnova: Politicizing the scientific self through media interventions

Erickson-Davis: What it is to see: a simulation of artificial vision

Gluzman: Feminist Theory Theater

Gomez-Marquez: Construction Sets for DIY Medical Technologies and their Black Box Counterparts

Hidalgo: Collaborative Research Toolkit: a copyleft resource for the co-design of research processes

Hoagland: Getting a Sense of the Place: Navigating FemTechNet’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Workbook

Houston: Collaborative urban sensing with the “Dustbox” air quality monitor

Howell: Emotional Interpretation & Materiality of Biosensing

Johnson: Engineering Comes Home: Co-designing local infrastructure with residents of a London housing estate

Kennedy: Doing STS at the science/policy intersection

Knopes: Integrating STS into Bioethics and Medical Humanities Programs

Lachney: Generative STEM: Circulating Unalienated Value in Education, Labor and Environment

Lawson: (T)racing Eyes and Hearts:  An Installation to Explore the Physiology of Empathy

Lehr: Undergraduate STSers Learn by Doing in the Trump Era

Lippman: Making Sensible in 360°

Michails: AirTRACS: Community-based Air Quality Monitoring

Mogul: A STS STEM Education Incubator: The Co-Making of Inquiry

Mohsin: QEERI’s Science Majlis

Murphy: Environmental Data and Governance Initiative: Engaged STS Responding to the U.S.Administration

Nafus: Data Sense

Navarro: Our Driverless Futures: Speculating Moral Dilemmas of Self-Driving Cars

Nieusma: STS Design and Innovation: Disciplinary Discomfiture

Onaga: Biomaterial Matters: Fitting Humans into Cocoons, A Speculative Prototype

Ostman: STS approaches to public engagement with science: Synthetic biology

Ostrowski: The Empirical Printing Program

Perez Comisso: Technological theory for all: Teaching experiments on STS in Chile

Rosado Murillo: Pedal Transcriba, an Ethnographic Device of (and for) Qualitative Research

Shapiro: Detoxifying the environment across temporalities

Steensen: Face-off! Platform versus Self: A photobooth experiment

Stern: Zika and Feminist STS: Building a Network, Doing Collective Scholarship

Taylor: Connecting-Probing-Reflecting Spaces: The New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC)

Terrell: The making of an undergraduate Sociotechnical Ethics Society

Wentworth: Handholds: making sense of bodies through slaughter

Wong: Design Workbook Variations: Exploring Biosensing Privacy Futures

Wylie: Making and Doing STS with Undergraduate Engineers: The UVA Approach