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Global Knowledge Systems by Caroline Wagner

Dr. Caroline Wagner, a scholar of science, technology, and knowledge transfer has joined the faculty of the School of International Affairs (SIA) but Penn State Law students can tap into her expertise as well. Knowledge, Technology and Globalization explores policy and governance issues related to the creation and diffusion of knowledge.

“I've been privileged to have an exciting career working at the intersection of science, technology, and global policy,” she said. Professor Wagner played a key role in shaping U.S. science and technology policy after the Cold War, advising the U.S. House of Representatives and then Bush and Clinton White Houses on science and technology matters. She helped negotiate several treaties on technology transfer and cooperation, including the U.S. – Japan Semiconductor Trade Agreement. She was working in the U.S. Embassy in South Korea when that country transitioned from a dictatorial government to a democracy. She served on the United Nations Millennium Development Commission on Science, Technology, and Innovation.
The graduate-level class is one of several School of International Affairs courses that are available as electives to Penn State Law students. In addition to sharing some programs and events, the two schools offer a joint J.D./M.I.A. degree program.  
Students taking the elective course will study the theory and practice of knowledge creation, sharing, and governance. Terms like “open innovation” and "flat world," and movements such as the Open Access movement suggest significant shifts in knowledge politics. Governance systems such as intellectual property protection (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and standards), regulations, and trade rules continue to operate at the national level, but increasingly clash with international organizations (WIPO, WTO, ITU), which themselves are under pressure to change.
Wagner believes that the legal community needs to be better prepared to address the issues created by this scenario. “Many people feel that we are at a hinge in history, when one age ends and another begins,” Wagner said. “How do we conceptualize and understand the new age without allowing it to overwhelm us? This is an exciting time to test new theories and approaches to understanding the global order.”


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