San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
25.281.1 - 25.281.13
Can We Talk? Faculty Outcomes of Integrating Liberal Arts, Science, and Engineering Paradigms Experience with cross-disciplinary programs such as the writing intensive interdisciplinaryprogram/school not named for blind submission and the writing intensive physics course,interdisciplinary course/school not named for blind submission has shown that students reapmultiple benefits from the “hands on” integration of liberal arts and science/engineering. If auniversities’ investments in learning across disciplines is to continue to develop and flourish,however, we, as faculty, must consistently and enthusiastically do what we ask our students todo: respect, gain expertise in, and integrate multiple discourses, principles, and modes ofobservation and investigation. We will approach this paper’s title, “Can We Talk,” quite literally,asking about the ways in which “we”—science/engineering faculty and faculty in the liberalarts/writing – can maximize our ability to meaningfully communicate with each other to bestserve our students and to engage in dynamic professional development. This paper will detail, forexample, how a liberal arts/writing teacher’s increased fluency with the language used to create,describe and evaluate a computer program or to address a statics problem allows her to optimizeher engineering students’ “writing to learn” interest and performance, and allows her toproductively engage and critique the customary language and modes of her own discipline. Thepaper will explore and report on how an engineering instructor’s familiarity with writing as aninvestigation of self and society enables him to support his freshman engineering studentsthrough rigorous inquiry that has no “right answer, ”and allows him to best articulate tocolleagues, within and beyond his immediate discipline, the value and outcomes of humanities-based inquiry. We will examine how a physics instructor’s familiarity with principles andpractices of clarity and accountability in writing allows her to further demonstrate, for herstudents, the importance of accuracy and responsibility in lab or bench work, and allows her tomaximize the possibility of further successful interdisciplinary inquiry and courses in thesciences and the arts. Through consideration of current theoretical frameworks regardinglearning across disciplines, and by drawing, in detail, on practices and outcomes of faculty whospend considerable professional time and energy “talking” and teaching across disciplines, “ CanWe Talk” will cover how significant conversation, which appreciates and incorporates languagesof very different, even seemingly antithetical, disciplines significantly contributes to studentsuccess and to professional growth.
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