Innovation in Liberal Arts and Science Curriculum: Yale Symposium and Workshop

Summary

Yale-NUS College will host a symposium and workshop to discuss Innovation in Liberal Arts and Science Curriculum Design on June 6 -9, 2016 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  A collaboration between the National University of Singapore and Yale University, located in Singapore, Yale-NUS College aims to redefine liberal arts and sciences education for a complex, interconnected world.

At a time when the liberal arts are increasingly met with skepticism in the United States, there has been strong interest in developing liberal arts programs in both Asia and Europe. This symposium, funded with grants from the Luce and Teagle Foundations, will bring together approximately 100 faculty and senior staff from liberal arts and sciences institutions around the United States to discuss renewal of college curricula. In particular, we would like to focus on how liberal arts institutions can offer an international and multidisciplinary foundation for student learning through demanding and cohesive general education courses.

We hope to draw on our experience founding Yale-NUS College to expand upon lessons learned through creating a new liberal arts college in Asia, and how our experience might prove relevant to curricular innovation in the United States. In addition, having begun a review of our Common Curriculum, we would like to discuss ways in which the College and other liberal arts institutions might improve their core curricula, specifically to incorporate Asian topics, themes, and texts into their curricula.

Sharing of such knowledge could be viewed as a “re-importation” of liberal arts education into the US. American liberal arts institutions’ understanding of how liberal arts education is being reimagined and reinvented by non-Western educational systems, such Yale-NUS College in Singapore, would allow US colleges and other institutions to redefine themselves, including revising their curricula based on learnings from the College. As a result, this “re-importation” of liberal arts education back into the U.S. would support the sustainability of US liberal arts institutions and also contribute to the promotion of liberal arts education worldwide.

On June 8 and 9, as a follow-up to the symposium, Yale-NUS College faculty will lead a series of workshops for about 50 faculty from a variety of institutions who are working on new developments in curriculum at their colleges and universities. This will be an opportunity to do hands-on work. These workshops would differ in nature from the symposium as they would bring together liberal arts institutions seeking to re-evaluate and improve their curricula. As part of the workshop “deliverables,” college/university attendees would form working groups that would come up with preliminary plans for implementing changes to the institutions’ curricula. The workshops are delivered immediately after the conference to help defray costs for conference attendees who also want to attend the workshop series. Benefits include increased understanding of various liberal arts models and improved relationships between and among liberal arts institutions worldwide, and integration of learnings in order to improve the participating institutions’ common curricula.

The symposium begins at 11:30 am on June 6, and will feature a catered lunch with a keynote speaker, followed by keynote talks and panel discussions from the invited speakers and representative faculty from Yale University and Yale-NUS College.