STEAM: INTEGRATING ARTS AND SCIENCES

A pragmatic complement to STEM courses, STEAM brings together medical humanities, environmental humanities, and digital humanities to argue for a broad-based approach to science literacy, the work of humanists as much as scientists. By “science literacy,” we have in mind not so much knowledge of specific scientific facts as a set of cognitive skills, an ability to recognize a problem and investigate it, trying out a range of explanations, and marshaling enough evidence to make informed choices, incorporating mistakes as well as successful outcomes into the learning process. Understood in these terms, science literacy is by no means the exclusive province of STEM courses. The platform for cultivating it needs to be diversified; contributions from humanist disciplines need to be explored.  We argue that story-reading and storytelling are a key part of this effort, a low-cost, user-friendly avenue to the sciences crucial for democratic education.  Reading works of literature and acquiring additional knowledge on their own to write substantive essays, students learn about the science of food and nutrition, sickness and health; the science of  online media and digital data; as well as the science of floods and droughts, rising sea levels, and mass extinctions.  Far from being hide-bound and mutually exclusive, literature and science are symbiotic, cross-fertilizing, and input-bearing in both directions.  Just as scientific insights could potentially enrich our understanding of literature, literary study could potentially serve as a pedagogic forum for science, piquing the students’s interest while stimulating them through active participation, trial-and-error experimentation, and research-based writing.  Useful to four-year colleges, community colleges, high schools, as well as lifelong learning, STEAM creates a common ground between education at different levels, and reaches out to hospitals, senior centers, community groups, and prisons.

Our team:

Amherst College (Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Center for Community Engagement)
U of Arizona (Alan Weisman, Institute of the Environment, author, The World Without Us)
Boston College
 (Mary CraneAmy Boesky, Director, Program in Medical Humanities)
Boston University (Adriana Cracium; Anna Henchman, DUS, English DepartmentMaurice Lee, Chair, English Department)
Bowdoin College (Samia Rahimtoola, Environmental StudiesTess Chakkalakal; Aaron Kitch, Chair, English Department)
Brandeis U (John Plotz, Caren Irr, Chair, English Department)
Brigham Young U (Matthew Wickman, Director, Humanities Center; Brian Roberts)
Caltech (Cindy Weinstein, Vice Provost)
UC Berkeley (Miryam Sas, Chair, Comparative Literature)
UCLA (Elizabeth DeLoughreyUrsula Heise, Institute of the Environment and SustainabilityCarrie Hyde; Allison Carruth, Director. LENS)
UC Santa Barbara (Ken Hiltner, Director, Environmental Humanities Initiative)
U of Chicago (James Chandler, Director, Franke Institute for the Humanities
Edgar Garcia; Julie Orlemanski; Patrick Jagoda, co-founder, GCC Design Lab, co-editor, Critical Inquiry)
Choate Rosemary Hall School (Stephen Siperstein,  co-director, Environmental Literature Institute)
U of Colorado, Denver (Philip Joseph, founder, Colorado Center for Public Humanities)
Columbia U (Rita Charon, Director, Narrative Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons; Matt Sandler, Director, American Studies; Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science, Department of Sociology)
Dartmouth College (Colleen Glenney Boggs, CHCI Medical Humanities Network)
U of Delaware (Martin Brückner, Associate Director, Center for Material Culture Studies)
Duke U  (Priscilla Wald, editor, American Literature; Katherine HaylesDeborah Jenson, affiliated faculty, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Director, Franklin Humanities Institute)
George Washington U (Jeffrey Jerome Cohen,  co-President, ASLE)

Harvard U (David Shumway Jones, History of Science & Harvard Medical School; Arthur Kleinman, Anthropology & Harvard Medical School; Daniel Schrag, Director, Program on Science, Technology, and SocietyJames Engell, Center for the Environment; Deidre Lynch; Jennifer Schnepf, writer, Public Books;  Julie Buckler, Director of the Humanities, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced StudyKaren Thornber, Director, Asia CenterDirector, Harvard Global Institute; Matthew Battles, Associate Director, metaLab; Jeffrey Schnapp, director, metaLAB;  co-director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society)
College of Idaho (Rochelle Johnson, Indian Creek Revitalization Project)

U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Melissa Littlefield, project leader, Network for Neuro- Cultures;  Andrew GaedtkeRobert Dale Parker; Jodi Byrd; Justine Murison; Ted UnderwoodRobert Markley, President, Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)
U of Iowa (Ed Folsom, co-director, Walt Whitman Archive)
Kenyon College (Jesse Matz, Chair, English Department)

Louisiana State U (Lauren Coats)
U of Maryland (Martha Nell Smith, founding director, Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities)
McGill U (Merve Emre)
McKinsey & Co (Kyle Hutzler, writer, Huffington Post)  

MIT (Wyn KelleyMary Fuller, Head, Literature Section)
Modern Language Association (Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director)
U of Nebraska (Ken Price, Co-director, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities)
U of New Mexico (Jesse Alemán, summer faculty, Bread Loaf School)
U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  (Nicholas AllenDan Anderson, Director, Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate Program, Director, Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Literacy Minor; David J. Baker; Jordynn Jack, Co-Director, HHIVE Lab;  Eliza Richards; Matthew Taylor, co-editor, American Literature; Jane Thrailkill, Director, M.A.Program in Literature, Medicine, and CultureKym Weed)
Northeastern U (Hillary Chute)

U of Notre Dame (Laura Dassow Walls, Reilly Center for Science and Technology)

Ohio State University (Andrea Williams; Frederick AldamaJim Phelan, editor, Narrative;  Jared Gardner, Director, Popular Culture Studies;  Scott DeWitt, Vice Chair, Rhetoric, Composition, and LiteracyDebra Moddelmog, Chair, English Department)
U of Oregon (Stephanie LeMenager)

U of Pennsylvania (Paul K. St. Amour, Rethinking Graduate Programs, ACLS; Heather LoveBethany Wiggin, Director, Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities)
Penn State U (Hester Blum, President, C19)
Princeton U (Rob Nixon, Princeton Environmental Institute; Anne McClintock, Program in Gender and Sexuality StudiesSarah Rivett, DGS; Diana Fuss, Associate Chair, Bill Gleason, Chair, English Department; Susan Stewart, Director, Society of Fellows)
Rowan University ((Ted Howell, founder, Teaching Cli-fi))
Rutgers U (Andrew Goldstone)

Stanford U  (Mark McGurl, writer, LA Review of BooksMichaela BronsteinBlakey Vermeule, DGS, English DepartmentRobert Pogue Harrison, host, “Entitled Opinions,” KZSU 90.1)
U of Texas at Austin (Matt Cohen, founder, Cohen Lab)
U of Texas at Arlington (Stacy Alaimo, Director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies)

U of Utah (Matthew Potolsky)
Vanderbilt U (Ifeoma Nwankwo, Director, American Studies; Haerin Shin; Jay Clayton, Director, Curb Center)
Vassar College (Hua Hsu, writer, New Yorker)

U of Virginia (Jennifer Wicke)
U of Washington (Kathleen Woodward, Director, Simpson Center for the Humanities; Eric Ames, Chair, Comparative Literature; Jesse Oak Taylor, DUS, English)
Washington U, St. Louis (Steven Meyer)
Wellesley College (Anjali Prabhu, Director, Newhouse Center for the Humanities;  Cord Whitaker)
West Virginia University (Stephanie Foote, founder and editor, Resilience: A Journal of Environmental Humanities)
U of Wisconsin (Theresa KelleySusan Stanford Friedman, Director, Institute for Research in the Humanities)
Yale U (Wai Chee Dimock, editor, PMLA;  E.C. Schroeder, Director, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript LibraryRichard Deming, Director, Yale Creative Writing; Catherine DeRose, Engagement and Outreach Manager, Digital Humanities LabLeslie Harkema, DUS, Spanish and Portuguese; Timothy BrownMary Evelyn Tucker, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Richard Prum, Director, Franke Program in Science and the Humanities)

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