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New Center for Science, Technology and Society

September 24, 2013 —  

Doctors distribute materials at a U.S. Army clinic in Africa

The new Center for Science, Technology and Society (STS) at Drexel University fosters interdisciplinary research collaborations that investigate the social dimensions of science, medicine and technology, tackling some of the most important questions of our time with a multidisciplinary toolkit. Through this Center, faculty and students explore the impact of new technologies and scientific knowledge, including their many social, ethical and legal implications, as well as the reasons why some technologies or scientific knowledge are adopted while others are not. The STS center highlights three interrelated areas of research: environment and sustainability; health and medicine; and information, identities and networks.

The Center offers a master’s degree in science, technology and society, which is now accepting students for the 2013-2014 academic year. The degree program offers graduate students a strong training in social science research methodologies, critical thinking and writing. A signature component of the curriculum is the STS lab where master’s students, faculty and community members team up in a hands-on, immersive course to address contemporary social issues. Working with the Center for Public Policy, the Center for STS also offers a master's degree in environmental policy.

Serving as the director of the Center is Kelly Joyce, PhD, professor in the Department of History & Politics and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Joyce’s current research examines the use of the category “autoimmune illness” in medicine and examines how people live and age with these illnesses. She is also the principle investigator of a NSF-funded project (award #1338205) that investigates the ethics and values of the computer scientists, information scientists and software engineers who create algorithms. Joyce teaches courses on the social dimensions of health and illness, as well as courses on the values embedded in technological design and use. She was previously an associate professor of sociology at the College of William and Mary and served as a program director for the Science, Technology and Society program and the Ethics Education in Science and Engineering program at the National Science Foundation during 2009-2011. She received the Director's Award for Collaborative Integration for contributing to the education of ethical scientists, interagency collaboration and extraordinary efforts in integrating ethical expertise with scientific knowledge in 2011.

For more information on the Center for STS, visit www.drexel.edu/sts.

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