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ERIC Number: EJ1057116
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
The Liberal Education of STEM Majors
Wolfson, Adele J.; Cuba, Lee; Day, Alexandra
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n2 p44-51 2015
Liberal arts colleges produce a disproportionate number of PhDs in the sciences (National Science Foundation 2008), and knowledgeable observers praise the "cross-training" of these colleges' science majors (Cech 1999; Connell 2004; Ekman 2007; Pascarella et al. 2004; Steitz 2001; Tilghman 2010). While many of the positive outcomes of majoring in a STEM field at a liberal arts college are known, not much is known about how students integrate the content and skills from their nonscience courses into their majors. Drawing on interviews with STEM majors participating in a panel study at four liberal arts colleges, a typology based on patterns of course enrollment and orientation toward non-science courses that reflects increasing degrees of integration between science and non-science fields was developed. Four categories of STEM majors are identified and detailed descriptions of each are provided. Findings suggest that students with an intermediate or relatively small number of science courses were more likely to see explicit connections between their science and nonscience courses, thereby gaining insight into disciplinary methodologies and integrating knowledge and experiences across the curriculum. Results reveal that there are implications for faculty and administrators who seek to increase the integrative learning that graduates will need if they are to address complex global issues.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A