Skip to main content

Integrating Sciences and Engineering in the Liberal Arts Curriculum

Introduction

This entry makes two short claims regarding the integration of sciences and engineering in the liberal arts curriculum:

  1. 1.

    It is possible to achieve such an integration.

  2. 2.

    It is currently highly desirable to effect such an integration.

Background and Foundational Questions

The Western tradition of liberal arts has always contained an element of universalizing ambition. From the early Greek idea of education in an encompassing circle (O’Hear and Sidwell 2009) to the increasing comprehensiveness (throughout the Middle Ages and beyond) of first the Trivium and then the seven artes liberales – formed in the sixth century by Boethius’ adding of the more ostensibly “scientific” Quadrivium to the existing Trivium (Fournier 2008) – one strand of liberal education has been an attempt to capture the unity of knowledge in an organic whole (The BPTI’s Channel 2012; Randel 2005).

If we wish to honor this ambition today, where do we start? How big should we try to make our picture?...

Keywords

  • Liberal Arts Programs
  • American Colleges And Universities (AACU)
  • Trefil
  • Science Core Curriculum
  • Methods Course

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Bacon, F. 1620 (1994). Novum Organum. Aphorism 90 (trans & ed: Urbach, P., & Gibson, J.). Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • British Academy. (2016). Crossing paths: Interdisciplinary institutions, careers, education and applications. http://www.britac.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Crossing%20Paths%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Cartwright, N., & Hardie, J. (2012). Evidence-based policy: A practical guide to doing it better. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Christensen, J., Henrikson, L. B., & Kolmos, A. (2006). Engineering science, skills and Bildung. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.484.1576&rep=rep1&type=pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Columbia News. (2011). For engineering Dean Mort Friedman, 50 is a prime number. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/06/11/friedman.html. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Engineering Connections. (2016). http://engineeringconnections.org/resources/. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Fournier, M. (2008). Boethius and the consolation of the trivium. https://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/fass/Classics/fournier/M%26H%20offprint.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Goldberg, D. (2017). A whole new engineer. http://threejoy.com/whole-new-engineer/. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Gombrich, C. (2016a). Polymathy, generalism and the future of work: A little theory and some practice from UCL’s Arts and Sciences BASc degree. In W. C. Kirby & M. van der Wende (Eds.), Experiences in liberal arts and sciences education from America, Europe and Asia (pp. 75–90). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gombrich, C. (2016b). What sort of interdisciplinary research can undergraduates do? Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 41(4), 332–334.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gombrich, C. (2017). Teaching interdisciplinarity. In J. P. Davies & N. Pachler (Eds.), Transforming education at UCL (provisional title). London: IOE Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gombrich, C., & Hogan, M. (2016). Interdisciplinarity and the student voice. In R. Frodeman, J. T. Klein, & R. C. Dos Santos Pacheco (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity (2nd ed.). Princeton: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jarrison, A., Kolmos, A., & Holgaard, J. E. (2014). Hybrid learning: An integrative approach to engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 103(2), 253–273.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kirby, W. C., & van der Wende, M. (2016). Editors’ note. International Journal of Chinese Education, 5, 1–4.

    Google Scholar 

  • McPhearson, T., Gill, S. P. D., Pollack, R., & Sable, J. E. (2008). Increasing scientific literacy in undergraduate education: A case study from “Frontiers of Science” at Columbia University. In F. Darbellay, M. Cockell, J. Billotte, & F. Waldvogel (Eds.), A vision of transdisciplinarity. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis Group LLC.

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Hear, A., & Sidwell, M. (2009). The school of freedom. Exeter: Imprint Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Porter, R. (1996). The scientific revolution and universities. In W. Ruegg & H. De Ridder-Symoens (Eds.), A history of the university in Europe (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Randel, D. (2005). Science in the liberal arts curriculum. In J. Meinwald & J. G. Hildebrand (Eds.), Science and the educated American. https://www.amacad.org/pdfs/slacweb.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Rhodes, F. H. T. (2010). Science as a liberal art. In J. Meinwald & J. G. Hildebrand (Eds.), Science and the educated American. https://www.amacad.org/pdfs/slacweb.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Schield, M. (2005). Making science a core liberal art for the 21st century. http://www.statlit.org/pdf/2005SchieldPKAL.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (2010). Science and the educated American. Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  • The BPTI’s Channel. (2012). Steve Fuller, (University of Warwick, UK) on interdisciplinarity part 1 [Video file]. Accessed 8 May 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2011). Why the liberal arts needs the sciences (and vice versa). http://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-the-Liberal-Arts-Need-the/129762. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Tilghman, S. M. (2010). The future of science education in the liberal arts college. http://www.princeton.edu/president/tilghman/speeches/20100105/. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Trefil, J., & Hazen, R. M. (2010). Scientific literacy: A modest proposal. In J. Meinwald & J. G. Hildebrand (Eds.), Science and the educated American. https://www.amacad.org/pdfs/slacweb.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • UCL. (2017). Arts and Sciences BASc website. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/basc. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  • Van der Wende, M. (2014). Trends toward global excellence in undergraduate education: Taking the liberal arts experience into the 21st century. International Journal of Chinese Education, 2(2), 289–307.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carl Gombrich .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this entry

Cite this entry

Gombrich, C. (2017). Integrating Sciences and Engineering in the Liberal Arts Curriculum. In: Peters, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_563-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_563-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-287-532-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-287-532-7

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference EducationReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences