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  Scholarship Across
  the Curriculum

by Christopher Hunt, Coordinator of Scholarship Across the Curriculum

In 1959, C.P. Snow in his Rede lecture and subsequent book, Two Cultures, described a widening chasm between the worlds of scientists and non-scientists.  His thesis was that the breakdown of communication between the sciences and the humanities was to say the least, an undesirable thing.

My personal belief is that science is the most reliable way humankind has yet devised for learning truths about the world, but it is simply not done in isolation from the rest of the world of human beings and ideas.  So while I think there may be some truth to what Snow is trying to get at, at the end of the day, really, there is just the one culture, the one world in which we all live.

The notion of the scientist in a white lab coat, isolated in his lab, divorced from the rest of the world is a flat-out caricature.  Science is done by people—people that are fallible, that have all the foibles of the rest of humankind, people that bring a cultural and sociological background to the lab bench with them.  They live in a society that embraces art, literature, religion, economics, and the like.

The resultant interdisciplinary interplay between science and other parts of the world of ideas I find fascinating, and I try to incorporate it regularly in my teaching.  (Or as regularly as I can in a course that requires me to cover 15 billion years of history and the entire universe in 15 weeks!)  And part of the mission of Scholarship Across the Curriculum is to foster interdisciplinary connections between the scholars in the various departments across our campus.

One of the founding initiatives of SAC is the First Annual SAC Faculty Lecture series.  This got off to an amazing start last fall with Alicia Juarrero’s talk, and is continuing full force this term.  To see the complete list of faculty speakers for spring 2002 and the dates of their lectures, go to http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/~jhunt/SACLecture.html .

Another interdisciplinary initiative is of course the Aristotle and a World of Wonder project, in which faculty from many departments on campus come together to discuss the work of "The Philosopher."  This program kicked off on January 18, 2002, with talks by Alicia Juarrero ("Wonder and the Order of Society") and Chris Hunt ("Wonder and the Order of Science").  The seminar series continued on February 22, 2002, with a talk on Aristotle’s Metaphysics by Dr. Alfonso Gomez-Lobo of Georgetown University.  To learn more about this project, go to http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/~jhunt/Aristotle.htm .

A final note: by the time you read this the 2001-2002 Pathfinder Grant cycle will have ended, but never fear!  The 2002-2003 cycle will have started, with the deadline for Round One application being close of business, May 3, 2002.  If you will be undertaking professional development activities that will occur in the next fiscal year (i.e., after July 1, 2002, but before June 30, 2003), I encourage you to apply!  Applications, as well as more information, may be found at http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/tlc/grants.htm .

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 3

Spring 2002