Undergraduate STSers Learn by Doing in the Trump Era

Jane Lehr, California Polytechnic State University;
Jane Lehr, California Polytechnic State University; Matt R. Klepfer, California Polytechnic State University

Boston 2017: Pedagogy

The College of Liberal Arts at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) – an undergraduate-focused, publicly funded, comprehensive polytechnic university – launched a new Science, Technology & Society Minors Program in Fall 2015 that offers minors in Ethics, Public Policy, Science & Technology; Gender, Race, Culture, Science & Technology; Media Arts, Society & Technology; and Science & Risk Communication. Over 150 students are currently enrolled from each of the university’s six colleges, with the largest numbers in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Engineering. Like its home institution more broadly, Cal Poly STS focuses on undergraduate students and prioritizes Learn by Doing in its approach to teaching and knowledge production. Cal Poly STS students actively read and critique STS peer-reviewed scholarship, participate in existing STS communities, and constitute new STS communities. Undergraduate STSers at Cal Poly also produce original STS knowledge that engages with and potentially transforms the sensibilities of the field. However, although central to both the future of STS, and to, we believe, the future of the world, undergraduates who identify as STSers are typically absent as both attendees and as subjects of attention at 4S Annual Meetings. Co-curated by STS faculty member Jane Lehr in partnership with STS student Matthew Klepfer, this exhibit challenges the “common sense absence” of undergraduates at 4S via a project-based showcase of making, knowing, and doing by STSers from Cal Poly. In addition, student participants will share perspectives on doing STS at a predominantly white, historically conservative, polytechnic university in California during the Trump era, with a particular emphasis on individual and group strategies for critical STS intervention.

Published: 01/30/2023