Collaborations make the world go ’round!



Multi-ethnic businesspeople at meeting. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 May 2016. Accessed 7 Oct 2016.

Now that we’re well into the semester here in the U.S., it’s easy to lose sight of the wonderful lofty goals we set for ourselves at the outset of the semester. Tedium, routine, and the pressure of covering material in increasingly shrinking time periods makes it difficult to re-awaken the creative spirit. I am thankful for the collaborations I have with other faculty to help me maintain my focus and outlook. It helps prevent me from getting too much “tunnel vision”, and keeps me looking outward, thinking outside the box.

In particular, this semester I have embarked on an intercollegiate collaboration with a colleague from another community college in my region. She and I met at a summer conference (the SENCER Summer Institute, several summers ago. This summer conference focuses on encouraging civic engagement with our STEM education.  My colleague heads a Global Humanities Institute at her college with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to encourage globalization of the Humanities disciplines. Her efforts encourage faculty to explore ways to foster curriculum development that favors global education. At the same time, at my community college, I was developing our in-house faculty development on incorporating Art into STEM with our STEM to STEAM initiative.  We realized that we actually had a lot in common. I wanted to reach across to my humanities (and specifically art colleagues), and she wanted to reach across to merge STEM faculty, with humanities faculty in the pursuit of global education curriculum development. This past summer, we met again at the SENCER Summer Institute and decided to collaborate our efforts in the hopes that we could use the benefits of each other’s strengths to further encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and incorporate Art into the STEM disciplines even more, perhaps with more confidence and commitment.

Thus, a first regional collaboration of STEM to STEAM has been born across two states, at two community colleges. Currently, we are working together to create a faculty professional development workshop in the Spring of 2017 that will focus on the global theme of WATER. We intend to have round table discussions at a half day discussion around various subtopic pertaining to water. At each table will be a facilitator from a humantiies discipline, and one from a STEM discipline. The other table members will be a diverse group of faculty with expertise across all disciplines. This year, we are also soliciting student ART depicting water as part of this special faculty development opportunity. I am very excited about where this workshop may lead. We are hoping it will generate ideas that faculty can immediately put to use in their classrooms to both increase the global perspective, and to increase the cross-collaborative nature of learning across disciplines. I mean really: why NOT include Art in your science class? or poetry? why NOT include math in your English class? Seems like a win-win to me!


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