New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Making Meaningfulness in the Classroom: Inter-Disciplinary Science in Liberal Education

Alex Kizuk, University of Lethbridge (Canada)


The teaching of science has long been a cornerstone in the Liberal Education Program at our research-based undergraduate university. This paper discusses the role of science teaching in the curriculum requirements of our flagship course, Liberal Education 4000, which functions as a capstone course both for our program and the Bachelor’s Degree at our University in general.

This course is a team taught course in which two professors from different fields engage students whose majors stem from every corner of the undergraduate degree. Currently myself and a colleague represent science and the humanities in this course as an interdisciplinary synthesis. We encourage the students to investigate the interconnections and present key questions focusing on the value of knowledge that functions socially beyond the disciplinary rigidity entrenched the traditional fields of study. This approach enhances conceptual rigor (thinking outside the box) that can receive short shrift in many domain specific accreditation processes. Of course, it is precisely these skills that have become very much in demand among the eventual employers of our students. The paper will discuss reasons why this course has been consistently successful both in terms of student expectations and pedagogically speaking. The paper will refer specifically to how the seminar has responded over three years to three challenging texts that treat new or controversial ideas in science.

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