Director, Center for Science, Technology, and Society & Department Chair, English and Technical Communication
Director, Kummer Center for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems & Mary K Finley Missouri Distinguished Professor of Computer Engineering
As an undergraduate-focused institution, JMU faculty are particularly focused on teaching, community-engaged learning, and research that includes undergraduate students. With growing recognition that complex sociotechnical problems require interdisciplinarity and expertise that span the traditional divisions of STEM, social
sciences, and humanities, current efforts are underway to strengthen interdisciplinarity and engagement with the public good about science and technology. In addition to those identified above within the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, there are several initiatives across JMU that could benefit from PIT-UN affiliation:
• JMU has a signature Ethical Reasoning in Action (ERiA) program that facilitates a first-year student orientation exercise to introduce students to ethical reasoning and supports additional activities and programming across the JMU community. While not limited to a focus on technology, many of the topics engage questions of technology and the public good. Activities like the PIT Technology Ethics Challenge could align nicely with ERiA programming.
• As a public institution in Virginia, JMU participates in the 4-VA program that offers grants to encourage collaborations across Virginia institutions. Several of these institutions are already in the PIT-UN network, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary. One 4-VA project that is currently underway has a strong connection to PIT: the “STS Across the Commonwealth,” which aims to invite broad participation in collaborative teaching and research that engages the social, political, and ethical dimensions of science and technology. Membership in the PIT-UN will further support such initiatives, and we envision future 4-VA grants that galvanize PIT activities across the member institutions within Virginia to create a strong regional locus of activity.
• JMU offers a minor in Science, Technology, and Society that draws from curricula across the colleges to engage students in critical approaches to the ethical, sociopolitical, historical, and policy dimensions of science and technology. The PIT framework offers additional conceptual approaches to translate across disciplines and make career pathways related to this minor visible.