Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2014

DOI

10.1632/adfl.43.1.23

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to explore how American higher education may be better adapted to the needs of today’s global society by means of a more integrated curriculum, one that rigorously partners the “hard skills” of math, the sciences, and engineering (the STEM and professional disciplines) with those supposedly “softer” ones derived through the arts and humanities. The authors believe that students will be better prepared for the challenges of the contemporary workplace through an education equally grounded in the sciences and the arts, including the study of varied sets of value systems, by pursuing dual degrees across those disciplines. Having pioneered one such effective and well-known model for the internationalization of engineering education, the five year dual degree (BA/BS) International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island, Berka and Grandin propose the marriage of engineering and language/culture as a model or template for a meaningful and productive partnership between science and technology, the humanities, and society as a whole, potentially adaptable to all comprehensive institutions of higher education and to a broad range of disciplines. As the United States seeks answers to a growing crisis of cost and relevance in higher education, therefore, the IEP will be presented here as an inspiration and a model for much needed reform, made possible by the creative reorganization and integration of subject areas which formerly went their separate ways, but benefitted enormously by finding their common ground.

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