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Broader understanding

Thinking critically about past, present and future technological innovations

Teaching and Learning

By Chad Pelley

It’s a truly unique offering in Atlantic Canada.

Two students sit back on to the camera on a grassy cliff with the ocean in front of them.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ (HSS) new certificate in the history and philosophy of science and technology is of broad interest to students of science, engineering, medicine, humanities and social sciences.

The program will challenge students to think critically and analytically about the consequences of past, present and future technological innovations on human existence, and the world we inhabit.

It will also augment a student’s understanding of engineering and the natural sciences by raising their awareness of the development of those sciences, and the social issues associated with them.

As program director Dr. Milorad Nikolić says: “A thorough understanding of a discipline includes knowledge about its history and its underlying theories.”

Students who understand how their discipline developed, and what ideas underlie its principles, will be better able to engage with the problems of scientific research and technological development in their fields.

Non-monetary effects

Dr. Nikolić says students will learn about the historical, ethical, and environmental aspects of scientific thought and technological change and develop a broader understanding of the ways humans, science and the technology we create all influence each other.

“Students will also gain an understanding of science and technology to an extent that cannot be offered in the curriculum of a science or engineering program alone,” he said. “Because students will be exposed to tools and modes of thinking that are common to disciplines in the humanities, but not necessarily in the sciences and engineering.”

Additionally, students will develop a true appreciation for interdisciplinary approaches to examining and understanding the past and present.

“This latest certificate brings our total certificate and diploma offerings up to 15.” — Dr. Shannon Hoff

Students will also learn how to assess progress in terms of technical feasibility and economic viability, but also in terms of non-monetary effects on the natural environment and on the human experience.

“Certificate and diploma programs allow our students to specialize in a focused area of their discipline in a way that complements their studies, augments their resumés and appeals to their personal interests,” said Dr. Shannon Hoff, associate dean of curriculum and programs for HSS. “This latest certificate brings our total certificate and diploma offerings up to 15.”

The chronological scope reaches from the Bronze Age to the modern period.

“Topically, courses cover natural philosophy, the sciences, technology and engineering, ships and seafaring, health and medicine, urbanism and the perception, exploitation and degradation of the natural environment,” said Dr. Nikolić. “All examined from a humanist point of view.”

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