Intersections - Winter 2016

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Winter 2016 - Dean's Corner

I was reading an article recently by an author who disliked the phrase “liberal arts and sciences.”  The reason he disliked it was because the phrase separates the “liberal arts” from the “sciences” and, as a result, ignores the signature strength of a liberal arts education in the 21st century: the emphasis on the importance interdisciplinary, connective, and engaged learning.

I couldn’t agree more.  In IAS and across UW Bothell, we have built out science and technology education in ways that are often ignored when pundits and policy-makers simply call for more “STEM” graduates to fill “STEM” jobs.  Rather than isolating those disciplines from the liberal arts, we have integrated them.  This integration has been the key to our success, and the success of our students and alum.

The stories below are about the “S” in “IAS.”  You will learn how our faculty members, students, and alum work in and across the fields of science and technology, always with an emphasis on the importance of cross-disciplinarity, connected learning, and community engagement.  The stories emphasize the multiple contexts and uneven impacts of scientific discovery and technological development.  They demonstrate how the world of “STEM” is shot through with questions about diversity, access, and equity.

In the first story, you will read an interview about a new IAS faculty member, Shannon Cram, who discusses her work on and with the Hanford Nuclear Site and, specifically, her drive to integrate science, policy, and critique at that location.

In the second story, you will hear from Dawn Hatfield, a current IAS student and Environmental Studies major who has used her education to spearheaded efforts to develop a geodatabase focused on the campus wetlands.

In the third, you will meet Andy Rheaume, the current Mayor of the City of Bothell, a watershed ecologist, and an IAS alum (Environmental Science, ’04), who discusses how his interdisciplinary training positioned him to bridge often difficult conversations among engineers, scientists, and city and regional planners.