Auerbach, Fermann Present iCons Pedagogy at Workshop on Globalizing Liberal Arts

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Chemistry professors Scott Auerbach and Justin Fermann, co-directors of the Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program, facilitated an invited workshop at Yale University earlier this month during a conference entitled “Globalizing the Liberal Arts.”

The conference focused on innovation in college-level liberal arts and science education, bringing thought leaders from around the U.S. to inform a curricular revision at Yale-NUS College, a satellite institution located in Singapore and co-founded by Yale University and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Yale-NUS College has the goal of redefining liberal arts and science education to be a multi-disciplinary, international, active-learning experience for undergraduates. The common curriculum of Yale-NUS and that of the UMass Amherst iCons program share many of the same learning goals, including learning to communicate scientific ideas to a variety of audiences and understanding how science functions as a mode of inquiry. 

“It was exciting to work with the Yale-NUS faculty, who have so many forward-thinking ideas about the role of multiple disciplines in solving real-world problems, as well as the role of real-world problems in teaching arts and sciences,” Auerbach said. “We definitely were all on the same page and believe there is a place for iCons-inspired education at Yale-NUS.”

Participants in the iCons case study workshop were introduced to the iCons program case study theory, structure, and design, and worked in teams to create case studies addressing societal problems of current importance. There is potential for a continuation of the Yale-NUS / UMass iCons relationship – as there may be future collaboration opportunities to adapt the iCons model to create a second-year course for the Yale-NUS common curriculum.