Civic Science Courses – Teaching Science Through an Equity Lens

We offer Civic Science courses that teach conceptual approaches and practical skills needed to act on science-based issues of societal consequence. Students learn skills indispensable for positive, civic engagement that will guide their critical decisions on science issues. Our teaching program focuses on teaching science through the lens of anti-racism and equity. While science works to enhance well-being, it has been negatively impacted by structural biases historically embedded within our society. Students learn to place science issues in a broader historical context of the politics of identity and the dynamics of power and privilege.

Stem Cells to Society

The Civic Science courses offered on the Tufts Medford campus are:

Freshman Seminar: Science & the Human Experience (TCS 94-01CHEM)
Instructor: Jonathan Garlick DDS, PhD

This small-group, first-year seminar allows students to reflect and share personal views about science issues that really matter Through conversation and dialogue we deepen an understanding of all points of view, beliefs, identities and values and share questions of genuine curiosity that enable learning about the science-based issues that impact our personal and civic lives. No previous experience in the life/natural sciences is required. The course is approved for Natural Sciences distribution credit.

“There’s such a line [drawn] when you say ‘I’m not listening anymore.’ That’s when you stop learning, Listening with resilience! I think that’s a core value that I learned through Science and the Human Experience.”
– Student feedback

Science and Civic Action (TCS 94-04PJS 50-01)
This course teaches conceptual approaches and practical skills needed to effectively create change on science-based issues that impact our lives and communities. Future scientists and engineers will build civic capacities, while students from the humanities and social sciences will learn skills indispensable for positive civic action. This course strengthens inclusivity through pluralistic and dialogic approaches to learning. No previous experience in the life/natural sciences is required. The course is approved for Natural Sciences distribution credit.

“In Science and Civic Action I learned skills that can be tools for more radical connection and community building. I learned how to foster connection, where folks’ assumptions, perceptions, and prejudice softens and a more just and gentle community is the result.” – Student feedback

Special Topics: Dialogue, Identity & Civic Action (CVS 150-03)
This course offers students in-depth training in dialogue facilitation to develop skills needed to take action for positive social change. Students learn to create spaces to communicate openly about complex or divisive issues to break down harmful communication habits that limit curiosity and humility. Students design, plan and facilitate dialogues that build listening and mutual understanding to support difficult conversations in the communities they care about.

“Learning the skills of dialogue facilitation in Dialogue, Identity and Civic Action has really helped me realize that everyone has their own truth. I learned how to allow each participant to be situated in someone else’s truth through dialogue.” – Student feedback