FYS 101 AIDS, Biotechnology, and Society

AIDS was first characterized in 1981 and permanently changed clinical, scientific, and social practices across the world. So impactful was the emergence of AIDS that we often refer to the early ‘80s and beyond as the post-AIDS era. Using innovative classroom instruction students will be active participants in the discovery of the personal, societal, and scientific challenges presented by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the immunological failure that it causes. Students will recognize how scientists and non-scientists transformed the death sentence of AIDS to the experience of living with HIV. Through the story of AIDS students will learn the global scope of pandemics and the interdisciplinary nature of the fight to control them.

The course will place strong emphasis on developing literature research skills, rigorous analysis of anecdotal and empirical evidence, and public presentation. The overriding objective of the course is to give science and non-science majors the confidence to enjoy learning about technical issues and to inculcate the skills of critical analysis necessary for a lifetime of learning, decision making, and effective advocacy.