Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

May 7: Building connections– between and among disciplines and to the community beyond the campus, the experience of national disciplinary societies and local leaders

Essays, Stories & Reports:

  • Building interdisciplinary connections - The roles of professional societies
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    National associations have clout; they have clout because faculty look to them for guidance and acceptance in their field; they legitimize the work faculty. Further, efforts of national associations– and here we must mention funding agencies– signal to the community (and beyond) what is valued.

  • Making connections: To, from, and within the mathematical community
    - David Bressoud, Professor & Chair of Mathematics & Computer Science - Macalester College
    - Lynn Arthur Steen, Professor of Mathematics - St. Olaf College
    Authors describe the wide range of activities and publications within the MAA (Mathematical Association of America) that emphasize three broader categories of connections important to their community:

    • connections to and from other disciplines
    • connections within the mathematical sciences
    • connections to the needs of students served by mathematics departments, majors and non-majors.

Resources from PKAL:

Resources from other sources:

  • National Science Foundation - Exploring the Concept of Undergraduate Research Centers
    The Chemistry Division, MPS Directorate, at NSF is piloting a new program. "One central theme [of the planning workshop] was that of collaboration: participants agreed that URCs should bring institutions with divergent missions together to their mutual benefit. A second strong theme that emerged was that, as often as possible, students should be involved in real research and actively contribute to the production of new knowledge. The utility of community-based research experiences in attracting students to the sciences, particularly at urban and nonresidential institutions, was recognized in this context...[T]he concept of URCs clearly represents the kernel of a comprehensive vision for undergraduate education, one with the potential to transform it from an exclusive "ivory tower" into a vigorous and dynamic forum of inclusiveness and engagement for a larger group of students than we currently serve."

  • National Institutes of Health - Roadmap
    According to NIH's new Roadmap: "Many scientists will continue to pursue individual research projects, however, they will be encouraged to make changes in the way they approach this enterprise. NIH wants to stimulate new ways of combining skills and disciplines within the physical and biological sciences...In addition, novel partnerships, such as those between the public and private sectors, will be encouraged to accelerate the movement of scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside."

  • Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education – JUNE
    "JUNE is a new online journal for undergraduate neuroscience faculty that publishes peer-reviewed reports of innovations in undergraduate neuroscience education. JUNE serves as a mechanism for faculty to exchange information regarding topics such as laboratory exercises, funding opportunities, new media, curricular considerations, and teaching methods."

  • Complex Environmental Systems - Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century, A 10-Year Outlook for the National Science Foundation
    "The report presents a ten-year outlook for environmental research and education and argues that we need to develop environmental synthesis to frame integrated interdisciplinary research questions and activities to merge data, approaches, and ideas across spatial, temporal, and societal scales."

  • Bio2010 - Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
    "Biological concepts and models are becoming more quantitative, and biological research has become critically dependent on concepts and methods drawn from other scientific disciplines. The connections between the biological sciences and the physical sciences, mathematics, and computer science are rapidly becoming deeper and more extensive. The ways that scientists communicate, interact, and collaborate are undergoing equally rapid and dramatic transformations..."

TIP: When considering options and opportunities for building curricular bridges for students– think about it from their perspective. Review the morning paper; highlight contemporary issues that can only be addressed by professionals and citizens capable of seeing the big picture– of integrating data, information and knowledge in ways that lead to addressing those issues.