Learning Objectives

Five core learning objectives

Undergraduate students in all majors within Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) focus on five core learning objectives:

  1. Collaboration and shared leadership
  2. Critical and creative thinking
  3. Diversity and equity
  4. Interdisciplinary research and inquiry
  5. Writing and communication

Collaboration and shared leadership

IAS students develop their collaboration and shared leadership abilities by learning to work with others to identify dimensions of a project, generate and refine ideas, follow through on the consequences of collective decisions, and pursue specific tasks without losing a sense of the whole. As part of this process, they learn to assess and draw on group members’ diverse histories, strengths, and potential contributions. They develop skills in listening, mediating conflict, playing different roles, and reflecting on the outcomes of collaborative work. Students learn different ways of managing groups, communicating effectively and respectfully across differences, and reflecting critically and creatively on collaboration processes.

Critical and creative thinking

IAS students develop their critical and creative thinking abilities by learning how to identify assumptions, and to work out how those assumptions inform results. They assess multiple perspectives, with an eye to understanding why and how they differ, and developing the capacity to engage in controversy productively. Students learn to identify central questions or concerns informing other work, and to develop their own work with an awareness of their own social positions and clear animating questions. Students develop a range of skills in interpretation, analysis, argumentation, application, synthesis, evaluation, and reflection.

Diversity and equity

IAS students develop their ability to live and work within and across diverse communities composed of multiple intersecting identities. Learning from the lived experiences, creative expressions and intellectual perspectives of historically-marginalized groups, students recognize and name historical and cultural relationships between power, knowledge, and difference. They develop the confidence and skills needed to transform unequal relations of power ethically and self-reflexively in order to foster greater equity.

Interdisciplinary research and inquiry

IAS students develop their ability to assess and conduct interdisciplinary research by engaging with and across multiple areas of knowledge and kinds of inquiry. They learn to think critically and creatively as they develop research questions, pursue them with appropriate sources and methods, and present results in a form suited to their purpose and intended audience. In this process, they learn to position their own work in relation to other research literatures and methods of inquiry, and in relation to relevant debates and diverse social contexts.

Writing and communication

IAS students develop their writing and communication abilities by advancing an awareness of the interconnected relationships between purpose, audience, author and context. They learn to communicate their purposes effectively to diverse audiences through writing, presentations, and other media, and to use a range of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to develop ideas and support claims in ways that best serve their needs. As part of this process, they develop the ability to indicate clearly and self-reflexively the ways their specific acts of communication relate to the work of others.