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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A possible direction

I read with interest Diogenes response to my last post. I am afraid if we abandon the field that all will be lost. I think confrontation at the next round table and even taking over the next round table from Zemsky is a better tactic. In light of that I have two ideas. The first is the demand for real resources for the social sciences, humanites and fine arts. Diogenes references Johns Hopkins and well he should. An institution noted for its research that truly values liberal arts. The same is true of MIT and others. It is not an either/ or false dichotomy as we have been led to believe. That discussion occured at A & S yesterday and was important. STEMM does not mean support for one idea while excluding all others. This leads me to my second point.

If we claim the ability to integrate knowledge and to solve problems is the result of a liberal arts education, then let's put the university's resources there. Let us create interdisciplinary courses that do that. After a student reaches 65 hours, he/she must take two classes that exhibit this interdisciplinary/problem solving view of life. To satisfy the requirement, the class must be team taught by at least two faculty from different areas, not just departments. For example a class might be taught by someone who is knowledgeable about environmental issues and by someone in communication who is knowledgeable about the way those issues are actually communicated to the public. After taking the class, the student has the option of applying it toward their natural science requirement or their social science requirement. Both professors will get full credit for teaching the class. Both will be required to be present each day. The class will have no more than 25 students. Any combination of science and social science or science and art or science and the humanities will be possible. You may do the same for any of the areas. The classes may not be taken until their junior year because I want them to have basic knowledge before they get to this class. This will not add to their required coursework, but will substitute for two classes they would have taken in a specific discipline. If the liberal arts matter then we need to show them how it works. The floor is now open for comments. Please be gentle I was up late last night celebrating.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A & S Meeting

I know it's election day, but we do have a fairly important meeting. Please bring with you any ideas about the future of the college. Where do you want this next round table meeting to go? If we do not decide, others will decide for us.