Bridging the Silos: Curriculum Development in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities

Kathryn Evans University of Texas at Dallas

Advisors: Nina Czegledy, Canada, Hungary Christo Doherty, South Africa Roger Malina, USA Eddie Shanken, USA Paul Thomas, Australia

May 7, 2012

Higher education has long been departmental in nature (dating back to the 19th century), and becomes more restrictive as a student moves from “interesting” Freshman 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/). Recommendations for further work are an expansion of the current site to include more courses and broaden the geographical scope via a call for papers in both domestic and international organizations; an “Art-Sci Cloud Curriculum” that would be a shared network resource; and sponsorship of an international conference on Cross-Disciplinary Curriculum.