Transdisciplinary Learning: Integrating STEM and Non-STEM Disciplines Conference



March 26, 2020

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center
Blacksburg, Virginia



Conference Description

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.

Conference Objectives

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  
9:00-10:00 a.m. Welcome, coffee and reception
10:00-11:00 a.m. Key note panel “Designing and Delivering Transdisciplinary Curriculum"
11:00 a.m.-noon (Parallel presentations)
Session 1: Dr. Tom Ewing, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the Department of History and member of the Data and Decisions Stakeholder Group, Virginia Tech
Session 2: Dr. Todd Schenk, Assistant Professor of the Urban Affairs and Planning Program in the School of Public and International Affairs and member of the +Policy Stakeholder Group, Virginia Tech
noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch break
1:00-2:00 p.m. (Parallel presentations)
Session 3: Dr. Lisa McNair, Professor of Engineering Education and member of the Creativity + Innovation Stakeholder Group, Virginia Tech
Session 4: Dr. Joe Simpson, Collegiate Assistant Professor of Management and member of the Integrated Security Stakeholder Group , Virginia Tech
2:00-2:30 p.m. Discussions session
2:30-3:00 p.m. Closing remarks


Conference Presenters

Tom Ewing
This session will feature the work underway to provide undergraduate students across the university with skills to think critically and use data responsibly to formulate judgements beyond their personal inferences/preferences. Of interest is the model used to advance integrated learning that is led by the College of Liberal Arts and Humanities. The session will discuss the curriculum design, how it is being implemented and how professional development is being provided to faculty and graduate students to prepare them to teach in a transdisciplinary context.

Todd Schenk

This session will feature the work underway to support the +Policy STEP Program project. The session will discuss the STEP certificate, curriculum design, targeted group of students (e.g., STEM) and how it is being implemented and taught.

Lisa McNair
This session will discuss how a team of faculty are working with universities and K12 educators across the Commonwealth to create pathways for students into STEM disciplines through a statewide STEM network.

Joseph Simpson
This session will highlight work underway in the Integrated Security Education and Research Center (ISERC) that is using real-life simulations of security related events to expose students to concepts of security and how to work in transdisciplinary teams to solve complex problems that arise in security related events.


Email Carla Bringas, LSIE Office