A Case Study in the Implementation of Convergent Education

Diversifying frames of knowledge

Authors

Keywords:

place-based education, multi-disciplinarity, convergent learning outcomes, problem-solving

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Kali Abel, University of Portland

Visiting Professor, Department of Environmental Studies

Tara Prestholdt, University of Portland

Professor, Department of Biology

Ruth Dittrich, University of Portland

Assistant Professor, Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland

Louisa C. Egan Brad, University of Portland

Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

Vail Fletcher, University of Portland

Professor, Department of Communication Studies

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Published

2022-10-27

How to Cite

Abel, K., Prestholdt, T. ., Dittrich, R., Egan Brad, L., & Fletcher, V. (2022). A Case Study in the Implementation of Convergent Education: Diversifying frames of knowledge. Advancing Scholarship and Research in Higher Education, 3(1). Retrieved from https://asrhe.org/index.php/asrhe/article/view/6521

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Section

Research Complete Articles