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A Course in Energy and Public Policy-A Liberal-Art Course for Power Engineers and Public Administrators

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2 Author(s)

We present herein a report on an interdisciplinary course in Energy and Public Policy, that is now required of all Power Systems Engineering students at Northeastern University. The course is based on objectives put forth by T.J. Nagel [1]. Briefly, these are: (1) To provide a broad overview of the technical, economic, social and political aspects of the energy problem; (2) To enable the student to gain insight into the wide variety of rational and irrational arguments that surround the energy industry; (3) To enable the student to develop effective methods for dealing with complex interdisciplinary problems where he/she is but one member of a team; and (4) To help the student develop improved written and verbal communication skills. This paper describes our first effort at balancing and combining the methodologies of seminar, lecture and debate to work toward our four objectives. We were quite successful in producing a course that aroused enthusiasm. The course proved far more effective than we anticipated in developing communication skills. On the other hand, an unbiased examination of the students' papers and debates would have found them long on enthusiasm but short on scholarship. This paper presents our analysis of why this happened and how we intend to improve upon our initial effort.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 3 )