Lee’s Stories

Lee’s Stories

home >> Teaching and Learning >> Integration, interaction, and community
posted on October 23, 2016 | Teaching and Learning, Science and Nature
Integration, interaction, and community

For a
Special Feature of the
scientific journal Ecology and Society,
which anyone can read, Julyet Benbasat and I
wrote about creating, teaching in, and administering
interdisciplinary undergraduate science programs. 
I
invited other authors to
write about their own experi-
ences of innovation,
then edited their works. All
of us, as I explained in my introduction to
the collection, wrote about our
attempts to
Educate for
Sustainability
.

In our own
paper,
Integration,
Interaction, and Community
,
we described the evolution of three large
programs, all literally out of the
box administratively. 

Before the
first of those programs,
Science One, was born, all courses
in all 10 Departments in the Faculty of
Science at UBC
were run by Departments
using departmental space and funding
but the new programs are run from
the Faculty and taught on
neutral territory. 

All of a
sudden, disciplines
could interact in the class-
room as conversations between
professional scientists from different
backgrounds and with different interests,
ways of looking at things and speaking,
and
all of a sudden, students could
witness and participate in
those exchanges.

When that
happened, new kinds of
conversations became possible and
old ones were listened to with new ears,
both inside and outside the classroom, and
everyone’s experience deepened. 
Julyet and I
showed how allowing fields of study to interact,
ap-
plying a few simple principles of learning,
enabling
students to interact with each other,
faculty to
interact,
students and faculty to interact freely
and
faculty and administrators to interact
with each other in new ways.  All of
that affected
how, and how
well, our students
learned. 

The
Coordinated Sciences
and Integrated Sciences programs
apply the same set of principles, in different
ways and in different combinations and are
similarly successful. By the time we wrote
the paper, experiments like these
were spreading to other faculties,
other institutions, and
other countries.  

In our paper we wanted to
provide a way of looking at things,
some questions, and a set of tools for answering
them that may be essential for anyone
interested in Educating for
Sustainability.


I’ve been out of the loop
for 15 years and have no idea
what’s happening now
with the ideas,
if anything.

I carve rocks for a living now.


Edited January 2019

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