History of American Science Policy

History of American Science Policy

Explore the relationship between science and policy by comparing science-based policy orientations across time periods and assessing the usefulness of alternative regulatory instruments.

To register or for more information, contact Kimberly Quach at [email protected]

Looking backward to the birth of the Republic, this survey course will explore the relationship between science and policy along three interrelated axes: (1) policies that draw on scientific information or technological advancements in an effort to achieve positive outcomes; (2) policies that address problems associated with the uptake and assimilation of scientific advancements within society; and (3) policies that seek to advance science or facilitate the dissemination and application of technologies or scientific information. The course will explore significant events and episodes; compare science-based policy orientations across time periods; and assess the usefulness of alternative science-based regulatory instruments.

We will learn how:

  • The “Great Surveys” of Lewis and Clark, Powell, King, and others (1803-1973) promoted growth in technological innovation and applied sciences.
  • The U.S. patent process has evolved to support technological innovation.
  • Military technological developments have fostered peace-time policy quandaries.
  • Innovations in urban sanitation were based on faulty science.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to summarize cutting edge science to make it more “palatable” for use in the policy process.

We will also explore questions and themes such as the following:

  1. Is there a coherent science policy at the federal level or an uncoordinated accretion of programs designed for specific purposes?
  2. What is the role and nature of so-called “boundary” organizations and objects?
  3. To what degree is science a foundation for governmental missions? To what degree should science serve as a foundation (or gateway) to governmental mission areas
  4. The proof vs. prudence debate: should legitimate policies be based upon a comprehensive and certain body of knowledge, or is it more prudent to sometimes act based on incomplete or uncertain information?
  5. Is science policy always/usually reactive? What are instances of effective proactive science-policy?

We will survey American history in a chronological manner, pausing for deep dives into particularly interesting episodes. Early in the course, we will review key concepts of public policy and political science—policy tools, stages of the policy process, policy regimes, alternative models of public policy—to provide us with an ordering vocabulary as we work through our chronological review of events.

The course will include class discussion, frequent impromptu class presentations, short writing assignments, and a take-home essay examination.

About the Instructor

Charles Herrick has over 30 years of government and consulting experience in policy analysis and science/policy assessment in an environmental and public health context. As a consultant to a wide range of U.S. government agencies, he provided analytical input and strategic direction on issues including acid rain, climate change adaptation, natural resource damage assessment, stratospheric ozone depletion, pollutant and public right-to-know registries, sustainable fisheries management, and control of invasive species. A leading expert in program evaluation, he has designed program theories of change, logic models, and real-time evaluation frameworks to characterize a wide variety of program delivery mechanisms, process outputs, outcomes, and impacts for major foundations, government agencies, and nonprofit service-delivery organizations.

Dr. Herrick is a seasoned executive with oversight experience across all corporate functions, including accounting and finance, human resources and benefits management, legal affairs, facilities management, business development, IT, administration and professional support services, contracts management, corporate communications, mergers and acquisitions, and risk management and audits. Throughout his career, Dr. Herrick maintained an active association with academia, teaching regularly and publishing frequently in the peer reviewed literature. He remains active in non-profit board service.

History of American Science Policy

Course HSD 598, class #32345

1800 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006 (Metro Stop: Farragut West)

This class will meet Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm from January 9 to April 24, 2019. There is no class on March 6th.

For more information, please contact Charles Herrick ([email protected]) for course content questions or Kimberly Quach ([email protected]) for registration questions.

Course Cost

The cost of this 2-credit graduate course is $2,517. There is also an application fee for new students.

To Register

If you are currently an ASU student, go to my.asu.edu to register for HSD 598, class #32345.

If you are not currently an ASU student, you must first become a non-degree seeking graduate student. The process is quick and easy:

  • Go to https://webapp4.asu.edu/dgsadmissions/Index.jsp. Then follow these linked directions to register as a Non-Degree Graduate Student.
  • In approximately 48 hours, you will receive an email confirming your non-degree status admission.
  • Before you can register for the class, you must submit proof of two MMR vaccinations. The necessary form and instructions on how to submit your vaccination records are available here.
  • You can then log into your newly established account (my.asu.edu). At the bottom of the “My Classes” box, click on “Registration”, “Add”, then search for class #32345. That will add History of American Science Policy to your “cart” and finish the registration process.