The Department of Science, Technology, and Society offers coursework and programs that bridge the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering to provide a better understanding of the ways in which these fields are mutually interacting forces in our world. The department teaches how to analyze the socio-cultural, historical, political, economic, environmental, ethical, scientific, and/or technological factors that impact the ways in which we live, as well as how these forces impact one other. We are motivated by the belief that understanding science and technology, past and present, is both socially important and intellectually challenging.
Science, Technology, and Society courses
minors: science, technology, and society; and environmental studies
immersions: science, technology, and society; and environmental studies
Research being conducted by RIT students and faculty will help determine if additional flowers, grasses and plants will benefit insects that help in pollination. The research is being done across the state, particularly next to roadways, and could help determine if later or fewer cuts to the vegetation next to the roads would help pollinators by allowing more time for plants to flower.
RIT environmental science students turned some heads when they stopped to pick white clover plants near a gas station along New York State Route 33A in October. But little did onlookers know that they were helping to conduct the largest evolution study outside of human genomics.
The environmental studies immersion is an examination of the basic environmental problems we face, how environmental resource depletion and energy issues are related, and what kind of environmental ethics and/or values we have today and have had in the past. The immersion also explores the economic, legislative, and regulatory framework within which most environmental decisions are made. Since most technological areas are associated with significant environmental implications, it is essential that students have an understanding of and a well-thought-out value orientation about such environmental consequences.
With an emphasis on sustainability and holistic thinking, the environmental studies minor provides students with opportunities for the in-depth analysis of global and regional environmental issues, their causes, and their potential solutions. In particular, a required 500-level seminar serves as a capstone experience, helping students to integrate knowledge from several disciplinary perspectives, including socio-cultural, historical, political, economic, ethical, scientific, and/or technological factors. Having completed the minor, students will possess a high level of environmental literacy, an important component of many professional fields within the sciences, engineering, law, journalism, and public affairs.
The science and technology studies immersion examines some of the major impacts of science and technology in the contemporary world. Special preference is given to American concerns. Students gain an overall appreciation of the social nature of science and technology as they have developed in the past, as they exist today, and as they may affect society in the future under various scenarios. Science and technology have become social systems in their own right and have made possible increasing freedom, a fantastic variety of choice, and, paradoxically, the growing interdependence of all segments of world society. A new level of public awareness and concern is crucial to understanding and dealing successfully with these consequences.
This minor integrates the studies of human society, science, and technology in their social content and context. The minor bridges the humanities and social sciences to provide better understanding of the ways in which science, technology, and society are mutually interacting forces in our world. Students learn how to analyze the social institutions, the built environment, and their role in creating them. This minor enhances a student’s ability to contribute to the development of science and technology in ways that are historically, culturally, and ethically informed.