Scientific Solutions for Society (SS4S) Program Description

Adriana Bankston, University of California, Irvine, Peggy Biga, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Chris Bolden, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Teresa Eastburn, University of Colorado at Boulder, Harinder Singh, University of California, Irvine

Program Description

The proposed program in science and society prepares students to solve key societal problems of today and the future. The program will focus on effective science communication, the impact and processes of establishing policies, and the principles of sustainability and innovation in society. Participants will gain essential skills to be applied in solving real world problems and develop leadership skills by serving as' trainers' for subsequent course offerings.

Core competencies: critical thinking, societal problem solving, cross-discipline applications, community building, building diversity and inclusivity

Skills: communication, leadership, empathy, listening/hearing/understanding, team work

Target participant population: Graduate & Professional Level Certificate (Bachelor's Degree required) [this is meant to be flexible and adjustable for different levels of education] - no specific field of study

Sustainability: In order to ensure sustainability as well as impart leadership abilities to the course participants, after finishing certificate program they will have an opportunity to serve as trainers for subsequent course offerings - 'train-the-trainers' to ensure sustainability and enhanced learning.Back to certificate overview »

Course Sequence

Core Courses (4 required courses):

  • Contemporary Political Issues in Science Contemporary Political Issues in Science.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 31kB Nov4 20) (Societal problems case-studies based course; covers critical thinking, informed consent issues, cross-discipline application, team work, diversity/inclusion)
  • Science Communication Science Communication Course Description.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 32kB Nov4 20) (Focus on varied audience types & varied media types; covers communication, listening/hearing/understanding, empathy)
  • Intro to Public Administration & Policy (Focuses on how governments work, decision making, public engagement, leadership, team work, listening/hearing/understanding)
  • Technological Developments and Society (Case study based understanding of the technological needs of society, keeping in mind the useful and adverse effects of technology on marginalized communities )

Block Specializations

Certificate course participants can choose elective courses that fall within or across blocks. A Specialization will be earned if 2 electives are taken from one block area:

Elective Courses

Courses meet elective criteria for the SS4S program based on the competencies and skills developed during the core courses focusing on to value, to act, & to know. These courses will attempt to serve as applications of knowledge and skills learned during the foundational core courses. Courses will be included as electives based on this rubric SS4S Course Selction Rubric - Rubric.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 57kB Nov4 20) and course breakdown SS4S Course Selction Rubric - Course Breakdown.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 54kB Nov4 20).

Capstone Course

The capstone course is required to complete certificate program:

  • Design Thinking to Solve Problems
    • Link to syllabus Design Thinking to Solve Problems.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 105kB Nov4 20) (syllabus still in progress)
    • Participants will identify social problems and potential technological needs
    • Participants will utilize humanistic, foundational, and meta knowledge to build potential solutions
    • Participants will support recommendations based on their research that they will "pitch" to review committee
      • review committee will be relevant for problem: could be a public official's office/staff, faculty, research expo presentation reviewers, business partners, etc.
      • pitch the ideas and solutions to the subject matter experts such as policy makers, entrepreneurs, as well as community members and receive real-time feedback to test validity and practicality of the ideas
    • Students will work individually or in peer-peer learning groups (depending on course size)

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