While Halloween is still a day away, I had the pleasure of celebrating early this month at McKinley Elementary School during the 10th Annual Safe and Green Halloween Festival. The yearly event hosted by SJSU’s CommUniverCity and the city of San Jose brings together neighborhood children and families for an afternoon of fun while also teaching them about sustainability and healthy living. SJSU students and faculty from the health science, business and environmental studies programs worked with dozens of officials to make the event a success.
As economist Robert J. Shiller once said, “In the longer run and for wide-reaching issues, more creative solutions tend to come from imaginative interdisciplinary collaboration.” We take this to heart at our university. The October event is just one example of the multi-disciplinary learning opportunities we provide for our students. Through these experiences, they are prepared for a world that increasingly requires collaboration on interdisciplinary teams. Whether our students pursue careers in the arts, sciences, technology, business, healthcare, the public sector or nonprofits, they will be prepared for the kind of thoughtful interactions that can lead to groundbreaking developments.
We have a long history of taking an interdisciplinary approach to education, as with our Humanities Honors Program founded in 1954. The program appeals to students from a variety of majors who understand that a strong foundation in communication and critical thinking will benefit them – in engineering, business, psychology or any one of a multitude of majors. In another unique course, students enrolled in a Global Climate Change benefit from natural science, environmental studies and communications perspectives in a team-taught course that highlights how climate scientists and advocates need to find an effective way to communicate to the public.
Our university is a rich environment for people with different skill sets and interests to connect, and sometimes this intersection of passions happen within one individual. This is surely the case for Chemistry Professor Bradley Stone who recently won an award for a weekly jazz music program and for Professor Gordon Douglas whose teaching and research explores the connection between urban political-economy, community studies and the cultures of planning and design.
As we continue to focus on student success, I am excited to explore more ways we can foster interdisciplinary learning, te