The Keck/PKAL Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning Project

National Project Leadership Team

Project Director

Jeanne Narum
Project Kaleidoscope

Executive Committee

Susan Elrod (F21 Class of '01)
Director of Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

California Polytechnic State University

“What are the best strategies for teaching students to be able to handle the interdisciplinary challenges of the future? Can any student engage in interdisciplinary problem solving, or are some individuals more likely to find it attractive? Are there points in an educational or career trajectory that are more conducive to interdisciplinarity? Is depth in an interdisciplinary field just as good pedagogically as depth in a discipline? Perhaps timing is more important than the breadth/depth dichotomy for building interdisciplinary capacity, for example breadth followed by depth, or vice versa. We have so many questions about educational strategies— it’s time we start focusing on what works, for whom, and under what conditions.”

Michael Kerchner (F21 Class of '96)
Associate Professor of Psychology
Washington College

"For many years now scientists, educators, politicians and journalists have noted our increasing reliance on interdisciplinary approaches to successfully tackle the world’s most intractable problems. There are scattered examples of interdisciplinary approaches to STEM education. Yet, in most colleges, comparatively little has been done to transform undergraduate STEM curricula so that future scientist and engineers are prepared to participate in the innovative interdisciplinary enterprises that we will required of them. The PKAL community is uniquely poised to take a leadership role in addressing this curricular deficiency; to identify, develop and disseminate models that exemplify what works best in interdisciplinary STEM curricula."

Stephanie Pfirman (F21 Class of '96)
Professor & Chair of Environmental Science
Barnard College

"Not only is the world becoming more interconnected and interdisciplinary, but so are the sciences. More and more, we see biology, chemistry, physics and engineering experts working together to address societal issues and solve global problems. In order to educate science students who are prepared to live and work in this 21st century world, undergraduate programs must create more interdisciplinary and integrated learning experiences. This will require a paradigm shift in how faculty teach, in how students learn and in how programs are organized and administered. Project Kaleidoscope's Facilitating Interdisciplinary STEM Learning project will make significant progress toward helping colleges and universities create this shift in effective and sustainable ways."

Project Team

A. Malcolm Campbell (F21 Class of '98)
Professor of Biology
Founding Director of the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT)
Founding Director of the James G. Martin Genomics Program
Davidson College

John Jungck
Mead Chair of the Sciences
Professor of Biology
Beloit College

R. Heather Macdonald
Chancellor Professor & Chair of Geology
College of William and Mary

Jose Mestre
Professor of Physics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wendy Newstetter
Director of Learning Sciences Research
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology

Maria Pellegrini
Vice President for Research
Brandeis University

Daniel Sullivan
St. Lawrence University

Margrit von Braun
Dean of the College of Graduate Studies
University of Idaho