Citizen Scientist

College Writing, L59 112

Being a citizen of a modern democracy increasingly requires making decisions informed by our understanding of scientific consensus and the backing evidence. The stakes of these decisions range from the future of a warming planet to the benefits of vaccinations and GMOs to the persistence of racial bias and gender inequality.  Even our daily diets are pushed and pulled by competing nutritional studies and their distortions in the media.  Negotiating the volume of news and “fake news,” the available academic research, and the influence of special interests can be daunting – particularly when we try to reflect on our own blind spots and knowledge gaps.  Citizen Scientist uses these and other topics at the intersection of civic responsibility and academic research to introduce students to college writing. The course will teach students to analyze, research and generate scholarly arguments as they deepen their understanding of the dynamic interaction between public opinion, government policy, political activism, science journalism, citizen science, and the research university.