Integrating Higher Education in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
As the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) and other divisions and units within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine embark on new projects aimed at improving the understanding and application of science, engineering and medicine toward the social, economic and cultural well-being of the nation and planet, we believe it is critical to work with partners in the arts and humanities for their input and engagement. While our focus is on developing policy recommendations that improve science, engineering and health education and training in our nation’s colleges and universities, a broader goal is to enable all citizens to have enriching and meaningful lives. As such, we believe that more effective integration of educational experiences in all disciplines—particularly in the arts, humanities, sciences, engineering, and medicine—will benefit all of our nation’s citizens. A December 2, 2015 workshop in Washington, DC, hosted by BHEW, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and attended by more than 110 scientists, engineers, artists, humanists, educators, policymakers and industry executives was the initial step in this effort. This project builds on that workshop.
An ad hoc committee overseen by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), in collaboration with units in PGA, NAE, IOM, and DBASSE, will produce a consensus report that examines 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. In particular, the study will examine the following:
• Evidence regarding the value of integrating more STEMM curricula and labs into the academic programs of students majoring in the humanities and arts in order to understand the following: (1) how STEMM experiences provide important knowledge about the scientific understanding of the natural world and the characteristics of new technologies, knowledge that is essential for all citizens of a modern democracy; (2) how technology contributes essentially to sound decision making across all professional fields; and (3) how STEMM experiences develop the skills of scientific thinking (a type of critical thinking), innovation, and creativity that may complement and enrich the critical thinking and creativity skills developed by the arts and humanities.
• Evidence regarding the value of integrating curricula and experiences in the arts and humanities--including , history, literature, philosophy, culture, and religion--into college and university STEMM education programs, in order to understand whether and how these experiences: (1) prepare STEMM students and workers to be more effective communicators, critical thinkers, problem-solvers and leaders; (2) prepare STEMM graduates to be more creative and effective scientists, engineers, technologists, and health care providers, particularly with respect to understanding the broad social and cultural impacts of applying knowledge to address challenges and opportunities in the workplace and in their communities; and (3) develop skills of critical thinking, innovation, and creativity that may complement and enrich the skills developed by STEMM fields.
• New models and good practices for mutual integration of the arts and humanities and STEMM fields at 2-year colleges, 4-year colleges, and graduate programs, drawing heavily on an analysis of programs that have been implemented at institutions of higher education.
The report will summarize the results of this examination and provide recommendations for all stakeholders to support appropriate endeavors to strengthen higher education initiatives in this area. The committee would like to hear from you. If you would like to comment on this study, you may send your comments to Ashley Bear.