The U.S. competes in a global economy primarily on the basis of knowledge and creativity. Much of our success comes from capabilities in science and technology. These two areas raise significant policy issues for the U.S. and the world. How does one protect intellectual property that is essential for making economic progress? Should the government have a policy toward broadband communications, and if so, what should that policy be? What should the U.S. policy be toward current and future energy sources? What is the science and politics behind the use of ethanol as a fuel? This honors seminar will explore the facts needed to make policy decisions, and students will be challenged to make recommendations to policy-makers. The course will draw upon faculty expertise across the University of Maryland. Student teams will conduct research on a policy question each week and will lead class discussion.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to

• Learn how to conduct research about an important scientific or technical issue of the day.

• Learn how to formulate a policy for decision-makers and analyze that policy

• Practice predicting the outcome of specific policies if implemented

• Prepare presentations to argue in favor of their policy recommendations

Students will use a policy framework to:
1. Formulate different policy alternatives
2. Analyze the likely impact of those policies
3. Recommend one or more policies to decision-makers
4. Describe how the results of implementing the policy should be evaluated.

Readings include:

Readings will be primarily articles available on the Internet from sources like Scientific American, Technology Review, IEEE Spectrum, etc.