THE INTEGRATION OF THE
Humanities and Arts WITH
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Branches FROM THE Same Tree
David Skorton and Ashley Bear, Editors
Committee on Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities,
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Board on Higher Education and Workforce
Policy and Global Affairs
A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (#11600619), the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts (#AH253080-16), the National Academy of Sciences Scientists and Engineers for the Future Fund, and the Teagle Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-47061-2
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47061-7
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24988
Library of Congress Control Number: 2018941713
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Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24988.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
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COMMITTEE ON INTEGRATING HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE ARTS, HUMANITIES, SCIENCES, ENGINEERING, AND MEDICINE1
DAVID SKORTON [NAM] (Chair), Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
SUSAN ALBERTINE, Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges & Universities
NORMAN AUGUSTINE (NAS/NAE), Retired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
LAURIE BAEFSKY, Executive Director, Arts Engine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), University of Michigan
KRISTIN BOUDREAU, The Paris and Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Department Head, Humanities and Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
NORMAN BRADBURN, Senior Fellow, NORC, The Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago
AL BUNSHAFT, Senior Vice President, Global Affairs and Workforce of the Future, Dassault Systèmes’ Americas
GAIL BURD, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Distinguished Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Arizona
EDWARD DERRICK, Independent Consultant
E. THOMAS EWING, Professor of History, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Research, and Diversity, The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech
J. BENJAMIN HURLBUT, Associate Professor of Biology and Society, The School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
PAMELA L. JENNINGS, Professor and Head, Department of Art + Design, College of Design, North Carolina State University
YOUNGMOO KIM, Director, The Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University
ROBERT MARTELLO, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Programs, Professor of the History of Science and Technology, Olin College
GUNALAN NADARAJAN, Dean and Professor, The Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, The University of Michigan
1 Paul Bevilaqua (NAE), Retired Manager, Advanced Development Programs, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, resigned from the committee in November 2017.
THOMAS F. NELSON LAIRD, Associate Professor, Higher Education and Student Affairs Program, and Director, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington
LYNN PASQUERELLA, President, The Association of American Colleges & Universities
SUZANNA ROSE, Founding Associate Provost, Office to Advance Women, Equity, and Diversity, Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies, Florida International University
BONNIE THORNTON DILL, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Women’s Studies, The University of Maryland
LAURA VOSEJPKA, Founding Dean, College of Sciences and Liberal Arts, Kettering University
LISA M. WONG, Co-Director, The Arts and Humanities Initiative, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
ASHLEY BEAR, Study Director
AUSTEN APPLEGATE, Senior Program Assistant
ADRIANA COUREMBIS, Financial Officer
ELIZABETH GARBEE, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow
KELLYANN JONES-JAMTGAARD, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow
JAY LABOV, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication
IRENE NGUN, Research Associate
THOMAS RUDIN, Director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce
J. D. TALASEK, Director of Cultural Programs
STEVE OLSON, Writer
MATTHEW MAYHEW, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration, The Ohio State University
HANNAH STEWART-GAMBINO, Professor of Government & Law and International Affairs, Lafayette College
JENNIFER STROUD ROSSMANN, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Lafayette College
BOARD ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE
RICHARD K. MILLER, Chair [NAE], President, Olin College of Engineering
LAWRENCE D. BOBO [NAS], W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Harvard University
ANGELA BYARS-WINSTON, Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison
JAIME CURTIS-FISK, Scientist and STEM Education Advocate, Dow Chemical Company
APRILLE ERICSSON, Capture-Mission Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
RICHARD FREEMAN, Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics, Harvard University
PAUL J. LEBLANC, President, Southern New Hampshire University
SALLY F. MASON, President Emerita, University of Iowa
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District
SUBHASH SINGHAL [NAE], Battelle Fellow Emeritus, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
KUMBLE R. SUBBASWAMY, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
SHELLEY WESTMAN, Senior Vice President, Alliances & Field Operations, Protegrity
MARY WOOLLEY [NAM], President and CEO, Research! America
AUSTEN APPLEGATE, Senior Program Assistant
ASHLEY BEAR, Program Officer
LIDA BENINSON, Program Officer
ALLISON BERGER, Senior Program Assistant
JAIME COLMAN, Senior Program Assistant (Until December, 2017)
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Program Officer
YASMEEN HUSSAIN, Associate Program Officer (Until July 2017)
LEIGH JACKSON, Senior Program Officer
FREDRICK LESTINA, Senior Program Assistant
BARBARA NATALIZIO, Program Officer
IRENE NGUN, Research Associate
LAYNE SCHERER, Program Officer
THOMAS RUDIN, Director
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American higher education has for generations been the envy of the world. Whether because of the enormous output of research, scholarship, and creative activity or the great diversity of offerings—running the gamut from community colleges to liberal arts colleges, research universities, conservatories, technical schools, and many other categories—American colleges and universities are widely admired and emulated across the globe.
In tracing the history of American higher education, we find much to be proud of, but we also see over the past few decades a growing tension between the broad and integrated education commonly referred to as liberal education and the increasing specialization in higher education as individual disciplines and administrative structures drive a fragmentation of curricula. This tension between broad, integrated education and specialized, disciplinary studies has heightened during periods of economic challenge, particularly since the Great Recession that began in 2008. Students and parents increasingly have focused their aspirations and plans on a vocationally driven approach, emphasizing fields where immediate post-graduation employment seems more certain and more remunerative.
Ironically, as this movement toward narrower, disciplinary education has progressed inexorably, many employers—even, and, in fact, especially in “high tech” areas—have emphasized that learning outcomes associated with integrated education, such as critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and abilities for lifelong learning, are more, not less, desirable. With the enormous strides in technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and communications, graduates will need such transferable and uniquely human skills to be able to adaptively and continuously
learn to work with, and alongside, new technologies. Further, each person entering the job market today will look forward not only to several jobs, but also several careers, during her working life. All of these factors have led to the expectation that current generations entering the workforce may, for the first time in recent American history, face a more uncertain future than their parents’ generation.
Faculty and administrators, who are concerned that an education focused on a single discipline will not best prepare graduates for the challenges and opportunities presented by work, life, and citizenship in the 21st century, are advocating for an approach to education that moves beyond the general education requirements found at almost all institutions, to an approach to higher education that intentionally integrates knowledge in the arts, humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering, technology, mathematics, and the biomedical disciplines. In this approach, which we refer to in this report simply as “integration,” professors help students understand the connections among the disciplines and emphasize the point made by Einstein that all disciplines and forms of inquiry are “branches from the same tree.” Extending this metaphor, advocates of integration see all human knowledge as both fundamentally connected, a network of branches arising from a trunk made up of human curiosity, passion, and drive, but also generative, as new branches split off and grow from old branches, extending into new spaces or coming in contact with other branches in new ways.
Against this backdrop, the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conducted a study focused on better understanding the impact of an integrated educational approach on students. Specifically, the committee was charged with “examining the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students.” To be clear, our task was neither to reject the disciplines, which this committee sees as vital sources of expertise, creativity, and innovation, nor to argue that an integrative approach is superior to more established models of general education. Rather, our task was to examine what the existing evidence can tell us about the impact on students of a new, and in many ways old, integrative approach to higher education that many faculty believe will serve to effectively prepare students for work, life, and citizenship in the 21st century.
To accomplish this challenging study, the National Academies assembled a committee composed of leaders and scholars in higher education and industry with expertise in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and medicine—and the intersections among these disciplines—whose affiliations reflected the diversity of types of institu-
tions in American higher education. I have learned an enormous amount from these colleagues and, now, friends, and am indebted to them for their tireless efforts, knowledge, insights, and savvy. The study was also made possible by the superb professionals from the National Academies, and the leadership of the Study Director, Ashley Bear, and the Director of the BHEW, Tom Rudin, as well as the research efforts of Irene Ngun and Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, and the logistical expertise of Austen Applegate.
To inform our deliberations, we heard from experts from beyond the committee, held public sessions in three cities, commissioned literature reviews, and heard from faculty across the country who submitted responses to a “Dear Colleague” letter asking for evidence and input from the broader higher education community.
WHAT DID WE FIND?
Assessing student learning outcomes across the breadth of American higher education is a daunting task, confounded by the number and types of institutions, the broadly varying backgrounds of the students matriculating, and, importantly, the fact that curricular decisions are—appropriately—in the hands of local faculty members, not subject to any broad, national consensus except in the case of accreditation of specific disciplines. For these reasons, as well as the lack of agreement on the most effective ways to assess student learning outcomes, we found that large, controlled, randomized testing of the hypothesis that integrated education would lead to educational and employment benefits are rare and likely to remain so. Nonetheless, we found abundant narrative and anecdotal evidence, some evidence from research studies, and, very importantly, a broad, national groundswell of interest in developing approaches to integrated education. Though causal evidence on the impact of integration on students is limited, it is this committee’s consensus opinion that further effort be expeditiously exerted to develop and disseminate a variety of approaches to integrated education and that further research on the impact of such programs and courses on students be supported and conducted.
Ultimately, the decision will rest with the faculty of American higher education. We hope that our faculty colleagues will take the time to examine this report and will thereby join with us in further exploring the value and role of integrated education. We believe the future of our nation will be affected by our collective decisions.
David J. Skorton
Committee on Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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The Committee on Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine would like to acknowledge and thank the many people who made this study possible. First, we would like to acknowledge the support of the standing National Academies Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), which offered oversight for the study. Secondly, we would like to acknowledge that this report was informed by the efforts of the many people who shared their data, insights, ideas, enthusiasm, and expertise with the committee. We would especially like to thank the following people (listed alphabetically) who presented at the committee’s meetings and information-gathering workshops:
William “Bro” Adams, National Endowment for the Humanities
Amy Banzaert, Department of Engineering, Wellesley College
Dan Brabander, Wellesley College
Fritz Breithaupt, Germanic Studies, Indiana University Bloomington
Loren B. Byrne, Roger Williams University
Rita Charon, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
Helen Drinan, Simmons College
Ethan Eagle, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wayne State University
Pam Eddinger, Bunker Hill Community College
David Edwards, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and Le Laboratoire
Bret Eynon, LaGuardia Community College
Ed Finn, School of Arts, Media + Engineering, Arizona State University
Marie Adamson Flesher, The Ohio State University
Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education
David Guston, Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University
Kevin Hamilton, College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Maria Hesse, Academic Partnerships, Arizona State University
Ed Hundert, Harvard Medical School
Joel Katz, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Harvard Medical School
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Media Arts & Technology and Music, University of California
Liz Lerman, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University
Richard K. Miller, President and Professor, Olin College of Engineering
Michelle Morse, Partners In Health, EqualHealth, Brigham and Women’s Internal Medicine Residency
Dan Nathan-Roberts, Industrial and Systems Engineering, San José State University
Scott Page, Departments of Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan
Lee Pelton, Emerson College
Peter Pesic, Science Institute, St. John’s College
Andrea Polli, Art and Ecology, University of New Mexico
Catherine Pride, Middlesex Community College
Bob Pura, Greenfield Community College
William Ray, The Ohio State University
Robert Root-Bernstein, Michigan State University
Joaquin Ruiz, College of Letters, Arts, and Science, University of Arizona
Ben Schmidt, Northeastern University
Vandana Singh, Framingham State University
Jim Spohrer, Cognitive OpenTech, IBM Research – Almaden
Raymond Tymas-Jones, University of Utah College of Fine Arts
Rick Vaz, Center for Project-Based Learning, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
David Weaver, Professor of Physics, Estrella Mountain Community College
Rosalind Williams, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sha Xin Wei, School of Arts, Media and Engineering, Arizona State University
Emma Smith Zbarsky, Department of Applied Mathematics, Wentworth Institute of Technology
The committee would also like to thank students from Arizona State University, Cecilia Chou, Matt Contursi, Tess Doezema, and Anna Guerrero, for sharing their experience with the committee, as well as the
respondents to the committee’s “Dear Colleague” letter, for all their valuable input on integrative courses and programs.
Further, the committee would like thank the sponsors that made this study possible: the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Academy of Sciences Scientists and Engineers for the Future Fund, and the Teagle Foundation.
We would also like to express our sincere gratitude for the generosity of the hosts of the study’s two regional information gathering workshops: Le Laboratoire, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
The committee would like to acknowledge the work of the consultants who have contributed to the report: Dr. Matthew Mayhew, Dr. Hannah Stewart-Gambino, and Dr. Jennifer Stroud-Rossman and the report writer, Steve Olson.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF REVIEWERS
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: James Barber, College of William and Mary; May Berenbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Rita Charon, Columbia University; Dianne Chong, Boeing Research and Technology (Retired); Michele Cuomo, Montgomery County Community College; Jerry Jacobs, University of Pennsylvania; Leah Jamieson, Purdue University; Christine Ortiz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Robert Pura, Greenfield Community College; Robert Root-Bernstein, Michigan State University; Jack Schultz, University of Missouri; and James Spohrer, IBM.
Finally, we thank the staff of this project for their valuable leadership, input, and support. Specifically, we would like to thank Program Officer and Study Director, Ashley Bear; BHEW Director, Tom Rudin; Research Associate, Irene Ngun; Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Fellow, Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard; Senior Program Assistant, Austen Applegate; Senior Advisor, Jay Labov; and the Director of the Cultural Programs for the National Academies, J. D. Talasek.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Maryellen Giger, University of Chicago, and Cora Marrett, University of Wisconsin-Madison. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
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Boxes, Figures, and Tables
IMAGES FROM GALLERY OF ILLUMINATING AND INSPIRATIONAL INTEGRATIVE PRACTICES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
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