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Designing Interdisciplinary Graduate Education In Technology And The Social Sciences

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Graduate Education in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.426.1 - 10.426.9



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Paper Authors

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Mary Jane Parmentier

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Rajeswari Sundararajan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2149


Mary Jane C. Parmentier and Raji Sundararajan College of Technology & Applied Sciences Arizona State University East Mesa, AZ-85212


In 2001 The College of Technology and Applied Sciences at Arizona State University initiated a new graduate concentration – Global Technology & Development (GTD) - for the M.S. in Technology degree. This paper presents the details of this truly multidisciplinary, innovative curriculum development in technology. The program offers students the opportunity to study applications of technology for global development, how systems of technology interface, and technology’s role in global economic, political, and social development and change. While the traditional MS in Technology disciplines produce specialized technologists, the GTD concentration integrates social scientific approaches to the study of human development with coursework in systems of technology to train students to become “technology interpreters” for careers in technology-related public policy, administration, government service, and international development and management. Some of the central issues addressed in this concentration include technological change and its effects on societies and their economies, and how, in turn, social change influences technological advance. Thus, engineering students are exposed to graduate level theoretical foundations in the social sciences, and liberal art students are exposed to courses in information technology software, transportation systems, technology forecasting, and sustainable energy studies. Because of the unique multidisciplinary curriculum that combines technology, social sciences, and international and comparative studies, students in this program are able to choose elective courses and theses or applied project topics from a wide variety of fields, depending upon their academic backgrounds, strengths, and interests. The experience of implementing this multidisciplinary graduate program, bridging technology and the social sciences, provides a model for further multidisciplinary curriculum development.


The discussion about the impact of technology on society and the way of living, especially in developing countries was the seed to the development of the GTD program. It was during the trip (in 2000) to a conference on water and development in the Southeast Anatolian Region of Turkey, a region that has experienced large scale development projects, including the Ataturk Dam, one of the largest in the world. Technological change was being introduced to modernize and increase irrigation and farming, and a new international airport was being designed to serve the region, which is also seeking foreign direct investment. The Turkish government was implementing programs to deal with the economic impact of displaced communities from the dam construction, and to address the overall low levels of development in the region, home to many of Turkey’s

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Parmentier, M. J., & Sundararajan, R. (2005, June), Designing Interdisciplinary Graduate Education In Technology And The Social Sciences Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15537

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