Blurring the Divide: Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Learning

By Leslie Elkins, Andrew Buss, Karen Lazarus, Pete Angevine, Catherine Fanelli and Natania Schaumburg.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At the 3rd International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Berlin, Germany, we discussed the results of an undergraduate course that brought together the disciplines of Geography, Dance, and Architecture and used the Creative Process as a methodological basis for design work. During the 2009 Fall Semester at Temple University, we again developed and taught an interdisciplinary course with many of the same tenets as last year’s course. Our previous paper focused primarily on the instructors’ experiences and viewpoints while teaching from an interdisciplinary perspective, and the goal of this paper is to focus primarily on the students’ experiences of interdisciplinary coursework. What do students derive from interdisciplinary learning opportunities? How is the experience of learning in an interdisciplinary course different from learning in single-discipline courses? Does interdisciplinary exploration in the classroom relate to other life experiences? This paper addresses the challenges and potentials of interdisciplinary learning and includes students’ perspectives.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Education, Creative Process

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.37-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 661.372KB).

Dr. Leslie Elkins

Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Leslie Elkins is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University. She teaches dance theory and technique with a specialization in improvisational performance and composition. Leslie earned a Ph.D. in Dance at Temple University. She recently published, Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving her work with renowned dance experimentalist, Deborah Hay, and two Philadelphia-based artists, Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac.

Andrew Buss

Adjunct faculty, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Andrew Buss is the Director of Public Programs for the Division of Technology in the City of Philadelphia and also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Geography and Urban Studies Department at Temple University. His coursework includes a client-based course called Community Development Workshop as well as a course examining pre- and post- Katrina New Orleans. He earned a Master’s degree in Geography from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Macalester College.

Karen Lazarus

Undergraduate Student, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Karen Lazarus is a recent graduate of Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater in Philadelphia. She plans on continuing her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Planning and Policy Master’s Degree program later this year. Her academic interests include planning for public health, geographic models of vulnerability, environmental health, and social research.

Master Pete Angevine

Undergraduate student, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Pete Angevine is a recent graduate of Temple University’s Geography and Urban Studies Department, where his academic interests primarily concerned public art and its efficacy in urban regeneration. While a diverse musical output has been the better part of his life’s work, he plans to embark on a career path in public art planning or a similar field to bring about positive social change.

Catherine Fanelli

Undergraduate student, Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Catherine Fanelli is a recent graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Geography and Urban Studies and a concentration in Italian. She currently works for the US Census Bureau in Philadelphia as a Crew Leader for the 2010 Census and has an internship with a non-profit organization called Tree House Books.

Natania Schaumburg

Undergraduate student, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Natania Schaumburg is a recent graduate of Temple University's Department of Geography and Urban Studies. After a life-changing semester spent studying abroad in Bolivia, she returned to Philadelphia for her final semester and now teaches in a Head Start school.

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