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Faculty Focus: Interdisciplinary Study at LVC
01.11.13 |
One of the hallmarks of Lebanon Valley College is its long-time commitment to innovation, collaboration, and cross-disciplinary programming. From its annual Colloquium Series to its many interdisciplinary student-faculty research projects, the College seeks to nurture an intellectual community where students and faculty regularly build fruitful connections across departmental borders.

This fluid academic environment is critical to training great minds to do great work in today’s world, where life’s challenges are increasingly multidisciplinary. If students are to think deeply and communicate clearly, if they are to affirm cultural and interpersonal differences, then they must become broad-minded, intellectually flexible, and adept in many different bodies of knowledge. Inculcating these skills is precisely where the liberal arts tradition has always been strong, said Dr. Michael Green, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, pictured at right.

“At the very center of the liberal arts tradition is the ability to look at issues from many different viewpoints and not be narrow in your focus,” he said. “At LVC we make a point of developing courses, projects, and high-impact experiences that are designed to encourage students to draw from different aspects of their education and varied aspects of their lives.”

Furthermore, this collaborative, collegial ethos of Lebanon Valley College faculty tends to be self-perpetuating, Green stated. “There are very specific kinds of faculty who are attracted to LVC,” he said. “In addition to their interest and work in an area of specialization, they are interested in interdisciplinary teaching and research opportunities with faculty colleagues across the campus.”

Green points to a recent essay published in the journal "Soundings" by Dr. Michael Day, professor of physics and engineering program director, and Dr. Gary Grieve-Carlson, professor of English and director of general education. The essay, “MacLeish, Oppenheimer, and the Conquest of America,” examines the work of poet Archibald MacLeish and physicist Robert Oppenheimer and is based on archival research, which the two conducted at the Library of Congress.

“That kind of collaboration from an English professor and a physics professor is not something that you find very often,” Green noted. “It speaks to the spirit of this place—the spirit of connection and collaboration between departments.”

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