Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Arts Alive SDSU Courses Bring Different Disciplines Together

Four new courses have been selected as part of the Arts Alive SDSU Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program

Arts Alive SDSU Courses Bring Different Disciplines Together

By Elizabeth Allison

December 13, 2018

Since 2015, San Diego State University has taken a unique approach to promoting the development of interdisciplinary curriculum through the Arts Alive SDSU Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program. This fall, four new course collaborations have been announced.

An enhanced learning experience

Sponsored by Arts Alive SDSU, the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program brings together faculty and students from the arts with faculty and students from the humanities and sciences. Arts Alive SDSU funding covers many of the costs associated with the program, including a semester of course release for faculty to participate in curriculum workshops.

In these course collaborations, faculty members work together to redesign existing courses, making modifications with interdisciplinary goals in mind. The paired courses are offered at the same time, on the same day, and are each assigned their own location, allowing faculty to determine when to bring their students together for combined sessions.

Eric Smigel, Chair of Arts Alive SDSU, believes that these course collaborations create educational experiences that expand opportunities for those involved to consider familiar ideas in new ways.

“The faculty and the students aren’t just collaborating in that they each bring their own different types of expertise to each other. The experience transforms the way they understand their own discipline,” said Smigel.

Students who enroll in collaborative courses engage across disciplines to explore a topic from multiple perspectives, encouraging both students and faculty to resituate their work within different creative and analytic contexts.

“The level of experimentation, the open-mindedness, and the strong encouragement to explore things they hadn’t considered before is very exciting,” Smigel continued. “This type of pedagogical enterprise demonstrates why the arts are an important and valuable part of a university.”

Emerging Collaborations

A call for submissions was announced in September 2019, beginning a search for new course collaborations. The response was enthusiastic, resulting in 12 applications by 24 instructors representing 14 different academic areas in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Ultimately, four course pairings were selected to be the newest cohort of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program. These collaborations include:

Chuyun Oh, Ph.D. (School of Music & Dance)
Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Ph.D. (Department of Women’s Studies)
DANCE 380: Dance History: Contemporary Global Contexts
WMST 310: Global Culture and Women’s Lives

Kevin Delgado, Ph.D. (School of Music & Dance)
Erika Robb Larkins, Ph.D. (Department of Sociology)
MUSIC 561: Area Studies in Ethnomusicology: Brazil
HIST 556: History of Brazil

D.J. Hopkins, Ph.D. (School of Theatre, Television, and Film)
Bruce Appleyard, Ph.D. (School of Public Affairs)
THEA 649: Topics in World Theatre
CP 710: Seminar in Theories of Urban Design

Eva Struble, M.F.A. (School of Art + Design)
Paula De Vos, Ph.D. (Department of History)
ART 404: Painting II
HIST 415: Pre-Contact and Colonial Latin America

The selected faculty will receive course release in the spring 2019 semester to participate in the Arts Alive SDSU assessment workshop and their collaborative courses will launch in the 2019–20 academic year.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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