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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Howard E. Mccurdy
PB AF 583
Seattle Campus

Science, Technology, and Public Policy

Examines the relationship between the advancement of technical knowledge, the pace of technological change, and public policies designed to induce or respond to these development. Issues of policy formulation, administrative design, and future trends; applications include biotechnology, energy, information technology, global warming, robotics, national security, homeland security, and space exploration.

Class description

From the spaceship to the computer chip, public officials work hard to promote advances in science and technology. In turn, scientific and technological innovations affect most of the activities that governments undertake. This course examines the relationship between advances in technical knowledge and the public policies designed to induce or respond to such change.

Understanding the relationship between science, technology, innovation, and public policy is an essential skill for persons leading twenty-first century institutions. This course covers the major facets of that relationship: the manner in which culture, politics, policy, management, and the future impinge upon scientific and technological innovation. Students will examine the interaction between politics and science, the effects of popular culture and public values, the way in which interest groups and scientific associations influence science policy, the challenges of creating large institutions that can carry out scientific activities, the tools used by public officials to encourage innovation and hasten the commercial acceptance of new technologies, the use of policy analysis in science policy, the effect of ideology on scientific advice, why bad science can form the basis for government policy, and unconventional developments that could alter future policy. The course covers a wide range of public actions influenced by science and technology, from environmental policy and national defense to energy policy and space exploration. Additional policies frequently covered in the course include global warming, homeland security, information technology, aviation, biotechnology, and robotics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grades are based on the tools of innovation (assignment #1: 15 percent), the policy maps(assignment #2: 15 percent), policies in detail (assignment #3: 40 percent), future trends (assignment #4: 15 percent), and class preparation and participation (15 percent). Regular attendance at scheduled sessions is a prerequisite for an exceptional grade.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Ellen Weinstein
Date: 04/13/2011