The 21st century will pose a number of extremely serious challenges to both the United States and the world at large These challenges include those around energy, climate change, population growth, gene-based technologies (cloning, stem cells, GM foods, reproductive technologies, and artificial life creation), surveillance and privacy, etc. Solutions to these challenges demands that critical and urgent public policy decisions be made and implemented: these will require substantial public dialog and input. For this process to be effective we need a scientifically literate populace. It was Carl Sagan who famously observed that: "It is suicidal to create a society dependent on science and technology in which hardly anybody knows anything about science and technology." Achievement of scientific literacy and an understanding of the methods and philosophy of science cannot be achieved by formal science education alone: involvement of all professionals in promoting science understanding through both formal and informal approaches is necessary.
"Science and the Public", offered solely as an on-line program leading to the Ed.M. degree, is designed to:
prepare professionals to better engage in public activities and debates related to science,
promote science literacy and understanding in the public at large, and
promote scholarship in science and humanism, science and public policy, and science in the political, religious and secular environments.
All professionals with an interest in promoting the public understanding of science and a desire to become leaders in science and the public interface may apply. An adequate science background is necessary.