2004-2006 Leadership Initiative Seminar

2005 PKAL LI Seminar: Interdisciplinary Learning- United States Military Academy; West Point, New York

March 4 - 6, 2005

Increasingly, STEM fields are becoming intertwined as scientific discoveries are made at the interface of seemingly disparate disciplines. As the nature of discovery changes, the nature of teaching and learning must follow suit. The successful STEM programs of the future will house STEM leaders (students and faculty) who take the initiative to transform and coalesce their STEM programs into one cohesive unit, from the intellectual, social and cultural perspective.

The PKAL planning task force outlined issues to be addressed by institutions (which will be done at the seminar) seeking to achieve distinction through the quality of their STEM programs that cut across and dissolve traditional disciplinary boundaries:
  • to have a clear understanding of student expectations, why they are drawn to interdisciplinary efforts and how those expectations play out in setting learning goals for students in interdisciplinary programs in ways different from setting goals for student learning in traditional disciplinary program
  • to have faculty recognized and rewarded for their participation in building and sustaining such programs
  • to link these programs to institution-wide assessment of student learning
  • to have an ongoing, formal forum for discussing the value, goals and future of such programs
  • to ensure that spaces for science signal the value of cross-disciplinary connections, in curriculum and in research
  • to have institutional policies about resource allocation, course schedules, etc. that reflect the value of interdisciplinary programs
  • to have a clear institutional vision that provides a firm foundation for such programs.

Presenters & Facilitators

David Christopher Arney, United States Army
Donna Brazil, United States Army
John Breshears, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca
Katayoun Chamany, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
James P. Collins, National Science Foundation
George B. Forsythe, Westminster College
Daniel L. Goroff, Harvey Mudd College
Alex Heidenberg, United States Military Academy
Daniel Kaplan, Macalester College
Charles J. Kirby, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering P.C.
Gary W. Krahn, United States Military Academy
Amy Lin, United States Military Academy
Elizabeth F. McCormack, Bryn Mawr College
Michael E. Moody, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Karen Parfitt, Pomona College
William R. Pulleyblank, IBM Corporation
Donald Small, United States Military Academy
Kathleen G. Snook, United States Military Academy
Bart D. Stewart, United States Military Academy
Rodney Sturdivant, United States Military Academy
Frank A. Wattenberg, United States Military Academy


Notebook for the 2005 Leadership Initiative Seminar: Interdisciplinary Learning
Preparing 21st Century Leaders: A Departmental Responsibility
The experience of the mathematics department at the United States Military Academy illustrates how to integrate a comprehensive faculty development program into departmental efforts to reform the curriculum and serve larger institutional goals for student learning.


Building an Interdisciplinary Learning Environment
Charles J. Kirby
Creating a Culture of Learning in a Community
George B. Forsythe
Moore's Law, Education and Innovation
William R. Pulleyblank
William R. Pulleyblank discusses the "new shape of innovation"— how scientific and technological advances are quickly pushing the frontiers of discovery, and how national education initiatives in the STEM fields can catalyze the next generation of innovators while building on the wisdom of their predecessors.