A Case Study in the Implementation of Convergent Education
Diversifying frames of knowledge
Keywords:place-based education, multi-disciplinarity, convergent learning outcomes, problem-solving
Convergent education calls for the dismantling of long held academic borders, and for the blurring of traditional academic divisions. It emphasizes the development of professionals who are comfortable thinking across traditional boundaries and who are equipped to best meet the needs of today’s society through critical thinking and problem solving. In doing so, it focuses on issues central to and concurrent with a student’s present experience. As we explore, we find that despite a variety of implementations of multidisciplinary approaches, an implementable framework for convergent education that is transferable across university settings seems lacking. We offer a framework for defining, identifying, and evaluating convergent education and apply this to a 2020 undergraduate course at the University of Portland. In addition to the development of a framework and analysis of convergent learning within the case study, we find that despite the ready need for and applicability of convergent-based education, more traditional academic structures predispose both students and educators towards educational outcomes that remain largely siloed, particularly in the divide between STEMM and non-STEMM majors. We demonstrate how the existing mismatch between intended convergent education outcomes and traditional academic structures may limit convergent education possibilities and we propose areas in which higher education can improve in developing professionals who are equipped to address the most pressing global issues.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kali Abel, Tara Prestholdt, Ruth Dittrich, Louisa C. Egan Brad, Vail Fletcher
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.