Teaching the Linkages among Technology, Economics and Societal Values to Interdisciplinary Graduate Students

By Otto J. Loewer.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Understanding the linkages among technology, economics and societal values is one key to enlightened leadership, especially as associated with sustainable prosperity and wellbeing. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the major teaching elements in an interdisciplinary graduate course designed specifically to promote the understanding of these linkages. In this course, first offered in 2010, the primary teaching objective is for students to gain an enhanced understanding of the nature of change that leads them to (a) a greater ability to develop and implement solutions that result in the foreseeable future being a time of sustainable prosperity and wellbeing; (b) added knowledge about overriding societal trends; and (c) more effective communication skills when working with those having different backgrounds, experiences, expertise and perspectives.
This paper presents overviews of the three major teaching divisions in the class text. These are: (a) a conceptual model of the linkages among technology, economics and societal values; (b) how these linkages have been demonstrated over all of recorded history; and (c) how statistical data can be used within the context of the conceptual model to evaluate and/or predict overriding societal trends in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, a number of teaching methods and student responses will be discussed that supports the delivery and learning environment of the students and increases their overall receptiveness to the course.
It is the hope of the author that this paper might be of benefit to those seeking possible approaches to teaching an interdisciplinary course like the one described herein.

Keywords: Teaching, History, Historical, Sustainability, Sustainable Prosperity, Wellbeing, Leadership, Society, Communication, Effective Communication, Linkages, Premises, Technology, Economics, Societal Values, Values, Modeling, Conceptual Framework, Latesvology

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.81-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.510MB).

Dr. Otto J. Loewer

Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA

Loewer’s area of expertise is systems analysis and simulation of agricultural, economic, engineering and biological systems where his work is known internationally. He’s authored over 300 publications of various types including two major textbooks. His degrees are in agricultural engineering from Louisiana State University (LSU) (BS in 1968, MS in 1970) and Purdue University (PhD in 1973) and in agricultural economics from Michigan State University (1980). He has held faculty positions at the University of Kentucky, University of Florida (UF) and University of Arkansas (UA) with assignments in research, teaching, extension, economic development and administration (department head at UA and UF, UA dean of engineering and director of economic development). Honors include selection to the LSU Engineering Hall of Distinction (2008) and as an outstanding graduate of his department at Purdue University (2004). He served as the international president of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (2005–2006) and was elected as a Fellow (1996). He was named “Engineer of the Year” by the Arkansas Chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers (1997) and as “Communicator of Year” by the northwest Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society (2004).