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Acquiring Futures Fluency

Tuesdays, 7:00 - 9:50 pm
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz

Course Description | Examples: Incasting | Scenario Building | Visioning

The primary goal of this class is orienteering: exploring the scope of futures studies as a field, where and how it developed and how that shapes its assumptions, who contributed what ideas, where it seems to be going [and what it seems to be avoiding], so that participants as individuals can negotiate their own relationship to the field as a whole and find the niche in theory and practice that feels appropriate for them. Not to mention defining the basic concepts, reviewing theories, and having a look at the available research tools.


  • a scanning journal, which students will augment throughout the semester, periodically reporting results to the class as a whole -- 25% of the final grade;
  • five two-page written assignments: student's choice of a social change theory; student's preferred research methods; critical evaluation of a futures report; two scenarios; and a plan statement for a vision -- 10% each, for 50% of the final grade;
  • final essay (approximately 10 pages) comparing two futurists' work and styles, with student's own futures research choices with regard to substance, method, and products -- 25% of final grade.

Formats for each assignment/class activity: specific, detailed descriptions of the format and content required for each assignment to be handed in will be included in the coursepack. As an example, the scanning journal format is described below.



  • Social change theories: exploratory essays;
  • Incasting exercise: scenarios used and resulting "headlines;"
  • Scenario building: welcome to our futures!
  • Vision exercise: instructions and initial goals list;
  • Planning achievement: strategies and stakeholders.



  • Understanding intellectual precedents of futures as a field, and able to relate it to other intellectual disciplines and research endeavors;
  • Define foundation concepts, perspectives, methods, products, and applications of futures research;
  • Locate personal research interests, skills, and goals within the futures field;
  • Establish personal database on trends of change and emerging issues of change for use in future futures research;
  • Communicate the above clearly to others via discussion, presentation, and writing;
    Use the Internet and WorldWide Web for research.

Required Texts

COATES, Joseph and Jennifer JARRATT
What Futurists Believe 1989 DC: Lomond/World Future Society.

SENGE, Peter M.
The Fifth Discipline 1990 New York: Doubleday/Currency.

The Foresight Principle: Cultural Recovery in the 21st Century
1995 London: Adamantine Press.

BLACKMAN, Colin ed.
FUTURES: What Futurists Believe
August 1996 special issue, S. Inayatullah, guest editor.

Plus a coursepack of selected articles, available in the bookstore 9/6.

Supplemental/Recommended Texts
MARIEN, Michael and Lane JENNINGS, eds.
What I Have Learned 1987 London: Greenwood Press.

The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future 1994 Waite Group Press

The Art of the Long View 1991 New York: Doubleday

BENNIS, Warren and Burt NANUS
Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge 1985 New York:

> Resources > Course Syllabi > Intro | Classics | Systems | Methods | Facilitation | Governance | Images | World | Leadership

15 February 2003. Email IF.
Copyright © 2003, Wendy L. Schultz
All rights reserved.
Since 1/15/2003, over [an error occurred while processing this directive]
people have explored our infinite futures.

(in addition to the 17,500+ visitors from 10/1/2001-12/15/2002).