Developing innovative curriculum with Arts Alive SDSU

Courses in the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Program give student high-impact opportunities for collaboration.

April 13, 2023
Arts Alive at SDSU.
Arts Alive at SDSU.

The Arts Alive SDSU Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching (ICT) Program has offered opportunities for faculty to collaborate and make creative connections across disciplines since 2015. This spring, three courses are completing their second iteration of the collaboration, and three new partnerships have been identified for next year.

In each partnership, faculty members work together to rethink existing courses, making modifications with interdisciplinary goals in mind. The paired courses are offered at the same time, on the same day, allowing faculty to determine when to bring their students together for combined sessions.

The ICT program provides opportunities for faculty to experiment and explore new pedagogy, while students are able to learn how different professional fields engage with shared subject matter, encouraging them to problem solve and think beyond the practices of their own academic disciplines.

“Collaboration can be challenging at times,” said Kline Swonger, Lecturer in the School of Art and Design. Her class on Environmental Presentation is collaborating with a Plant Systemics class. “It is rewarding to see students find solutions to those challenges to create successful projects.”

The ICT Program offers educational experiences that encourage students to consider familiar concepts under a new mindset. By interacting with students from a different discipline, they learn about their own field of study in unexpected ways. 

“Our students have had to go outside of their comfort zones to support each other's learning,” said Katie Tuner, Lecturer in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film. Her class in Improvisational Acting is collaborating with a practical course in Social Work.  “As a result, they have really grown as practitioners in their separate fields."

As their final semester teaching together comes to a close, each pair of faculty members has developed an event that will showcase the type of collaborative work they and their students have done over the last two years. 

Plants and Design: Uncovering the Nature of Diversity

Kline Swonger, M.F.A. (School of Art and Design) & Lluvia Flores-Renteria, Ph.D. (Department of Biology) 

Final Event: Students will plant and label the garden they designed in the collaboration. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at the micro-garden located on the 4th floor courtyard of the School of Art and Design  

Improvisation and Counseling Discourse

Katie Turner, Ph.D. (School of Theatre, Television, and Film) & Richard Bradway, M.S.W. (School of Social Work)

Final Event: Students will present their reflections on the collaboration and demonstrate a simulated counseling session. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. in Music Building 120

Mesoamerican Ceramics

Mary Cale Wilson, M.F.A. (School of Art and Design) & Carlos Figueroa Beltran, Ph.D. (Center for Latin American Studies)

Final Event: A reception recognizing the installation of ceramic masks made by students in the collaboration. 

Monday, May 1, 2023, from 4 – 6:00 p.m. at the Center for Inclusive Excellence 

Coming Next in the ICT Program

Earlier this year, an Arts Alive SDSU Committee selected three new collaborations that will begin next year. Faculty participants are selected through a competitive application process, and Arts Alive SDSU provides funding for them to participate in workshops designed to explore the pedagogical benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration. 

In this workshop, faculty partners identify class activities that achieve student learning outcomes and develop assessment strategies that measure transdisciplinary impact. Then each participant creates a functional syllabus and course outline. 

The partnerships that have been selected to participate in the Discovery Series next year include:

  • James Brown, Interior Architecture, School of Art and Design
  • ART 545: Design Studio
  • Gloria Faraone, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
  • CIV E 401: Civil Engineering and Society
  • Ashley Kim, Ceramics, School of Art and Design
  • ART 325: Introduction to Wheelthrowing
  • Christine Knott, Women’s Studies
  • WMNST 530: Women, Gender, and the Environment
  • Sonya Schumann, School of Music and Dance
  • MUSIC 351: Music and Culture
  • Robin Weersing, Department of Psychology
  • PSY 491: Academic or Psychological Counseling Experiences
Categorized As