The STS Futures Lab operates at the intersection of research and pedagogy, considering how each might inform the other. The Lab’s orientation questions the boundaries that often separate the two and that place greater value on the former.
The Lab posits that STS As Critical Pedagogy needs to be further developed as a subfield of STS with a dedicated community of those interested in identifying, developing, researching, and sharing STS pedagogies. Such work could further characterize what makes STS pedagogies unique, effective, and salient for different contexts; extend STS work into other fields, including STEM fields; enhance recognition of the value of STS in undergraduate curricula; regenerate STS through the cultural production that is education; and support STS as a field. To that end, we have applied for an NSF Grant to host a workshop on STS As Critical Pedagogy in the summer of 2020.
While Engineering Education as a field has a dedicated community of researchers and practitioners as well as dedicated journals, as do many fields in the social sciences and humanities, work in STS pedagogies is more distributed and perhaps less theorized as a distinct set of approaches or pedagogical aims. We hypothesize that this stems from two critical factors: 1) STS scholars are often themselves distributed across various domains, rarely working in dedicated STS departments and programs and, when they are, these departments and programs may not offer undergraduate degrees; and 2) Insofar as STS scholars are highly distributed, their teaching roles are not always or primarily within STS-inflected courses and, if they are in an R1 institution, their teaching may also be significantly less valued than their research.
However, the STS Futures Lab shows that teaching and research can be highly integrated and mutually beneficial. This can be seen in our new research project, Co-Imagining Futures, in which we invite experts from different domains to participate in the Lab in a collaborative scenario analysis and design fiction workshop exploring the potential implications of the expert’s research. The Student Dimension Photo Essay also shows the range of student involvement in the STS Futures Lab.
This artifact speaks to why STS needs experiments at the intersection of research and pedagogy. The STS Futures Lab believes that integrating research and pedagogy not only benefits students, but also benefits STS research.
Emily York and Shannon N. Conley, "Integrating Research and Teaching For Mutual Benefit", contributed by Emily York, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 15 August 2019, accessed 2 December 2021.