BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS:  CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AS A TOOL FOR CROSSING DISCIPLINES IN THE ARTS, SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

Higher education has long been departmental in nature (dating back to the 19th century), and becomes more restrictive as a student moves from “interesting” first year university seminars bridging a wide range of topics, through their major courses in a departmental area and finally into graduate school, where a single department awards their degree based on a usually narrow set of course requirements and a thesis or dissertation.  However, in the 21st century, investigators are finding that there are often tools, information, resources and even points of view from other disciplines that can elucidate and even answer the problem they are studying.  Many studies recommend “big” solutions that require fundamental changes to hiring, promotion and tenure, funding and support, and evaluation of grant proposals and publications in cross-disciplinary areas. This study recommends a “small” solution:  the creation of a compendium of cross-disciplinary curriculum that will encourage faculty to offer such courses.  A web site was created and submissions were posted at http://www.utdallas.edu/atec/cdash/  , based on a Call for Courses in 2009 via the Leonardo Journal (http://www.leonardo.info/isast/announcements/LEF_ArtScience_curricula.html.  A new Call for Curriculum will be initiated in the summer of 2012 in order to expand the current site to include more courses and broaden the geographical scope.  Possible recommendations include an “Art-Sci Cloud Curriculum” that would be a shared network resource, cross institutional team teaching  and sponsorship of an international conference on Cross-Disciplinary Curriculum.

The following individuals will assist in the developing the white paper:
Kathryn Evans,University of Texas at Dallas, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Humanities
Roger Malina,University of Texas at Dallas, Professor, Arts and Technology, School of Arts and Humanities
Paul Thomas,University of New South Wales, Associate Professor, COFA
Edward Shanken,Netherlands
Christo Doherty,University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Meredith Tromble, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Nina Czegledy, University of Toronto, Canada; Concordia University Montreal; Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest; Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest.

 

Other educators who are interested in collaborating on this white paper should contact Kathryn Evans kcevans@utdallas.edu .