Board of Trustees Votes to Eliminate STS

The Penn State Board of Trustees voted this afternoon to discontinue the Science, Technology, and Society program, a cost-saving measure recommended by the Core Council this winter. The program will be discontinued effective June 30, 2012.

Championed by professor emeritus Rustum Roy about forty years ago, the program was one of the first of its kind and unique in its operation, with management tasks performed more by the faculty as a collective than by any single administrator. That this struck most other faculty and administrators at Penn State as a disorganized approach is not surprising.

The STS program was not large though — it had in total fewer than 30 students involved — and the Core Council’s opinion was that the program’s impact on students was far less than other programs in Engineering or Liberal Arts.

The recommendation from the Core Council had been favorably reviewed by the deans of Engineering and Liberal Arts, according to a statement included in today’s meeting agenda, but was not endorsed by the Faculty Senate on the basis that the faculty had not been consulted prior to receiving notification of plans to close the program.

The STS minor will be discontinued, as will a number of courses housed in the program. Two other minors managed by the program — the Bioethics and Medical Humanities minor and the Disability Studies minor — will be relocated to the College of the Liberal Arts.

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