Humanistic STEM: Blending Humanities and STEM to Increase Undergraduate Student Engagement, Knowledge

Debra Bourdeau
Associate Dean and University General Education Program Coordinator
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Humanistic STEM (H-STEM) is defined as “blending the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with interest in, and concern for, human affairs, welfare, values, or culture.” Goals include an understanding of the humanities through the lens of the STEM disciplines that would not exist without human focus on the progress of society in the areas of rhetoric, literature, history, philosophy, art, religion, and ethics. Humanities, with its focus on critical thinking, cultural and information literacy, is uniquely positioned to be paired with other disciplines to create multiple lenses of inquiry. In H-STEM experiences, students learn languages and methodologies commonly associated with various disciplines, both to understand their commonalities and to appreciate their differences. This workshop will discuss the successes experienced in a pilot course as well as additional courses that provide a unique interdisciplinary experience that will allow students to integrate ideas and issues from diverse academic disciplines in order to expand their capacity for analysis and critical thinking. We will examine course texts, syllabi, learning outcomes, student responses, example work. This session will provide examples of an effective blend of STEM and the humanities for those who are interested in attempting similar interdisciplinary projects. Audience members will consider H-STEM infusions, courses, and even programs that may work in their institutional contexts.