• classroom discussion
    SCIL 101
    Science and Decision-making
    for a Complex World
  • classroom discussion
    SCIL 101
    Science and Decision-making
    for a Complex World
  • classroom discussion
    SCIL 101
    Science and Decision-making
    for a Complex World

What students are saying about SCIL 101

"The class has opened up my perspective on the subjects covered. Also improved my decision-making ability."
"This class raises awareness about current issues that people may not otherwise know about, and allows for great discussion.”
"I enjoy working in groups and the engaging conversations.”
"Instructors and LA’s are really engaging students in discussions and they are doing a really great job in helping us understand the materials."


About the Course:
Introduction to the scientific, social, economic, political, cultural and ethical dimensions of current issues related to food, energy, water and landscape systems. Students will work with their peers to access and evaluate popular and scientific media, and engage in science-informed decision-making.
Course Learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion of the course, student should have the ability to:
  1. Distinguish between (a) scientific information and (b) values, ethics, culture, economics, or politics, and use both to support position about what should be done about complex socioscientific issues using proficient written and oral communication skills.
  2. Explain and evaluate complex socioscientific issues in Nebraska using “systems-thinking” that includes an understanding of science, economics, politics/culture and ethics using proficient written and oral communication skills.
  3. Access and identify scientific information in popular media and peer-reviewed science media that is relevant to a socioscientific issue, and understand the implications of the scientific information for decision-making. Including:
    • Making judgments on credibility based on professional reputation, publication venue, institutional affiliation, and potential conflicts of interest, 
    • Understanding the creation of scientific information including the peer-review process, research funding and publication, and perspectives of research organizations,
    • Identify and evaluate claims and evidence in popular media articles 
  4. Engage in teamwork and problem-solving with peers to use consensus values and scientific information to make a case for the best solution to an important and complex socioscientific problem and defend the position during a final poster session.

SCIL 101 Sample Materials

Guest Speakers and Expertise Resources

  • Previous Guest Speakers
  • John Hay, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Biofuels, technology and policy
  • Dennis Ferraro, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Conservation on prairie dogs
  • Scott Young and Alynn Sampson, Food Bank of Lincoln Food insecurity in the region
  • Nicholas Brozovic, Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Water conservation and policy in Nebraska
  • Charles Francis, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Genetically modified foods
  • Roric Paulman, Nebraska Water Balance Alliance Technology and management to protect and conserve water resources
  • Sam Wilson & Karie Decker, Nebraska Game & Parks Mountain lion management in Nebraska Larkin Powell, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Mountain lion management in Nebraska
  • Pat Shea and Martha Rhoades, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Pesticide use in agriculture
  • Mike Jess, Emeritus Director of University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Water Center Water policy & management in Nebraska
  • We are currently looking for experts on biofuels, prairie dogs, food insecurity, Nebraska's water resources, genetic engineering, and pollination systems
  • Students may contact experts for assistance on a variety of topics for their final project.

Final Poster Session

  • Student groups pick an socioscientific issue of their choice and research and evaluate potential solutions to the issue.
  • Students Final Projects are presented in a Final Poster Session on the Thursday before finals week during lecture time.
  • Poster judges are needed every semester. Faculty, post-docs, graduate students and others are welcome to participate. Please contact us to volunteer!
  • Contact Jenny Dauer at jenny.dauer@unl.edu

For more information or to volunteer please contact Jenny Dauer jenny.dauer@unl.edu (402) 318-7349