S3 Strategic Plan Document


Strategic Plan for S3

Prepared in January 2015 by Georgina M. Montgomery,

Director of Science and Society at State (S3)

Mission Statement: Science and Society at State (S3) seeks to promote interdisciplinary scholarship and education that utilizes methods, approaches, and scholarship from STEM and/or the health sciences and science studies (studies of science using methods and scholarship from the humanities and/or social sciences).

S3 is driven by 3 goals:

  •        Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration on Michigan State University’s (MSU) campus in terms of research and grant productivity
  •        Contributing to innovation in interdisciplinary education across STEM, health sciences, social sciences, and humanities disciplines    
  •         Creating a community for interdisciplinary scholars at MSU whose research and/or teaching straddles the sciences and humanities

Short –Term Goals (2014-2015)

·      Establish a grant program to provide seed money for interdisciplinary collaborations on campus that include at least one MSU STEM faculty or health professional and at least one MSU science studies scholar

o   Status of this Goal: 2014-2015 was the first of a 3-year pilot of a seed grant program called the S3 Collaborative Grant program. In the fall of 2014, 11 interdisciplinary collaborations were funded.

·      Establish relationships with education groups on campus to promote interdisciplinary education that bridges STEM and health sciences with science studies.

o   Status of this Goal: Partnerships have been formed with CREATE 4 STEM and the STEM Alliance, both of which focus on STEM undergraduate education. The S3 webpage is part of the CREATE 4 STEM website and a member of the S3 Advisory Board is a key part of the CREATE 4 STEM program. This cross-fertilization is evident in the Spring 2015 CREATE 4 STEM speaker series which includes science studies scholars. Similarly, members of S3 helped co-organize a large STEM Alliance meeting in 2014 and have begun working with STEM Alliance on grant proposals focused on interdisciplinary STEM education.

·      Take actions to build community among interdisciplinary scholars on campus.

o   Status of this Goal: We have created a S3 listserv to foster communication between STEM and science studies faculty. In the spring of 2015 there will be a half-day S3 workshop for the 11 interdisciplinary teams sponsored by a S3 Collaborative Grant to facilitate sharing of research and building social connections.


Medium-Term Goals (2015-2017)

·      Cement and extend financial contributions from colleges on campus.

o   The director will meet with various colleges to ensure continued sponsorship from existing partners and financial buy-in from other units, some of which have faculty who received S3 grants in fall 2014 but do not currently sponsor the program. This will be done yearly during the three-year pilot.

·      Complete Years 2 & 3 of the 3-year pilot of the S3 Collaborative Grant Program.

o   This will require continued support of the S3 director from his/her units in the form of a course release once a year. Recognition at annual evaluation and at the college level will also be required for the service of the advisory board members and director.

·      Begin collecting data to assess the S3 Collaborative Grant Program

o   The S3 director is in charge of collecting and analyzing the data and will therefore lead this effort during years two and three of the pilot.

·      Continue efforts to integrate the perspectives and expertise of S3 scholars into campus-based conversations about interdisciplinary education.

o   This will involve director and faculty time invested in growing the relationship with education groups on campus.

·      Extend the involvement of S3 scholars in educational discussions occurring at a national level concerning the need for integrating STEM with the humanities and social sciences.

o   This will involve director and faculty time in the form of authoring articles about interdisciplinary education in outlets like The Chronicle.

·      Establish campus visibility of S3 so that when interdisciplinary scholars come to campus for talks or to interview, S3 is something that chairs and deans point towards as a source of support for interdisciplinary research and teaching, and as a source of interdisciplinary community.

o   This will require visibility in the form of name recognition on campus and beyond. A robust web presence would be important in creating this visibility. Building a community and network for interdisciplinary scholars on campus will also involve creating talks or workshops to bring scholars together.


Long-Term Goals (2017-2020)

·      Establish the S3 Collaborative Grant Program as a permanent internal grant program.

o   This will require recurring funds and infrastructure support for managing budgets and online application submission.

·      Play a significant role in increasing the interdisciplinarity of MSU’s STEM education at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

o   This will require establishing relationships with the College of Education, CREATE 4 STEM, the STEM Alliance, and the Graduate School, including S3 involvement in education grants, pilots, and education reform efforts.

·      Become a node for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration with a national reputation for effectively integrating STEM, health sciences, social sciences, and humanities in effective and innovative ways.

o   A physical center would be valuable because it would provide a space for scholars to come into contact with one another to share ideas about research and teaching. At a minimal, technical support will be required for managing a virtual means of communicating between scholars within MSU and for establishing a national reputation as a center of interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the humanities and sciences in truly innovative ways.