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Transdisciplinary Learning: Integrating STEM and Non-STEM Disciplines Conference

Transdisciplinary Learning: Integrating STEM and Non-STEM Disciplines Conference

CANCELLED: The Transdisciplinary Learning: Integrating STEM and Non-STEM Disciplines Conference that was scheduled to be held on March 26, 2020 at Virginia Tech campus is cancelled. There was a great deal of interest in this topic across the Commonwealth and we regret not being able to host everyone.

As it becomes more clear what the rest of the spring semester will look like we might consider modularizing the sessions and putting them online in a webinar type format; alternatively we may look to reschedule a face to face conference in the fall. We will use the registration list to announce our next steps.

Virginia Tech will host an event on campus to highlight work underway related to the 4VA initiative. Sessions will focus on curriculum efforts that are advancing transdisciplinary opportunities to bring STEM and non-STEM students together for experiences that allow for development of complex thinking and hands-on problem solving. There will be highlights from faculty that are working across disciplinary boundaries on a curriculum to advance data driven decision making and they will discuss how this effort is unique in that it is being led by the College of Liberal Art and Human Sciences. Other sessions will focus on preparing STEM undergraduates for careers in complex decision making through a graduate certificate focused on policy and ethical implications of technical advancements. Faculty leading a K12 STEM pathway discussion across the state will discuss larger project goals and advancements made to date on this work. Additional sessions will focus on how to support faculty teaching in transdisciplinary contexts and how to facilitate university and department support for these practices. These efforts are closely aligned with the university’s Destination Area initiative and supported by 4VA.

This will be a great opportunity to connect with faculty across the VT community and with colleagues across the state who are working on similar transdisciplinary learning efforts. The event is open to the university community and interested faculty and administrators from participating 4VA institutions.

Participants will:

  • Engage with other educators from across Virginia on strategies for implementing transdisciplinary learning.
  • Explore partnership opportunities for collaborative teaching and/or scholarship around teaching STEM for non-STEM major.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, March 26, 2020  
9:00-9:30 a.m. Registration and coffee reception
9:30-9:40 a.m. Opening remarks  
G. Don Taylor, Virginia Tech Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation, Vice Provost for Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness and Charles O. Gordon Professor in ISE
9:40-11:00 a.m. Keynote panel “Designing and Delivering Transdisciplinary Curriculum"
Stephen Biscotte (VT), Michael Klein (JMU), Nick Swayne (JMU), and Saltuk Karahan (ODU)
11:00 a.m.-noon Awardees presentations 
Session 1: Dr. Tom Ewing“Data in Social Context: Teaching Beyond Binary Categories”
Session 2: Dr. Todd Schenk“Bridging the Science-Policy Interface: Introducing the Science, Technology, and Engineering in Policy Program”
noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch break
1:00-2:00 p.m. Awardees presentations
Session 3: Dr. Phyllis Newbill, Dr. Sue Magliaro and Dr. Lisa McNair“Pathways for Students into STEM disciplines”
Session 4: Dr. Joseph Simpson“Complex Crises: Simulation on Security Environments”
2:00-2:50 p.m.

Round table discussions:

  • Partnering with Universities: Building Talent Pipelines across the Commonwealth towards a Master of Engineering Degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, led by Deborah Carlier (VT)
  • Institutional models for facilitating transdisciplinary curriculum at the undergraduate level, led by Nick Swayne (JMU)
  • Institutional models for facilitating transdisciplinary curriculum at the graduate level, led by Saltuk Karahan (ODU)
  • Promotion and Tenure in the Context of Transdisciplinary Research and Curriculum, led by Ico Bukvic (VT)
  • Supporting faculty in designing and implementing transdisciplinary educational offerings, led by Mark Hofer (W&M)
2:50-3:00 p.m. Closing remarks
Dale Pike, Virginia Tech Executive Director and Associate Provost for Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies


Keynote Panel Speakers



Carla Bringas, Program Manager, Learning System Innovation and Effectiveness
Lujean Baab, Virginia Tech's 4-VA Deputy Campus Coordinator