Friday, February 04, 2005


I have spent a ridiculous amount of time this week organizing things related to the new Science and Technology in Society requirement. I realized the problem is that I am in effect chairing three committees: an ad hoc committee from last fall to organize faculty development activities, a subcommittee of the university curriculum committee to recommend to that committee whether courses meet the STS requirement, and a curriculum committee to approve courses that have STS numbers before they go to the university curriculum committee. I'm not officially the chair of that last one, but I've taken on the work of getting it organized and expect to be made the chair at the first meeting.

I have said to the provost and the dean of undergraduate studies that I can't continue to do so much to coordinate STS unless I get an offical title, release time, and hopefully a pay supplement. The dean of undergraduate studies said in a recent email that she thinks the provost is going to go for making me coordinator of STS.

Why am I doing this? Because it expresses the reason I got into this field in the first place: to improve democratic decisionmaking for science and technology. Because I believe the new requirement is a good thing and I wouldn't want to see it fail. Because I'm the only one on campus with broad expertise in this area. I had other plans for the next few years, but I believe in this. I felt good about it today when a civil engineering professor said he enjoyed the meetings last fall, particularly having faculty from different departments talking together about big issues. He said it was like being at a real university (and he's British).

No comments: