Team Profile: Macalester College
Andrew Billing, Scott Legge, Eric Wiertelak
Given the cross-disciplinary nature of our team, with a member from each of the divisions at our College, this represents the first time we have collaborated together as a group, although each of us has separately collaborated with colleagues in the past to varying degrees. Among us are a researcher of 18th century French literature and political philosophy, a biological anthropologist, and a behavioral neuroscientist. We feel it is precisely the diversity of experience and disciplinary and methodological perspectives that our team brings to the Considering Animals Seminar that makes us a strong participant group. Moreover, insofar as the Seminar establishes a framework that facilitates cross-disciplinary work, it specifically serves the broader interests of the liberal arts curriculum at our institution.
Curriculum Development Plans
On an individual basis, the expanded focus that our own perspectives will gain from participation in the seminar will transform our courses in fundamental ways, beginning with the basic examples used to illustrate key points, to the readings and projects designed for students. We have also discussed the possibility of our developing a team-taught interdisciplinary capstone seminar that would converge squarely on the topic of the relationship between human and non-human animals; this will be developed following our initial plan, which is to develop and insert modules into our applicable courses that are tied to the interdisciplinary work of this seminar. A larger and perhaps longer-term initiative we plan to discuss on return from the seminar is the possible development of a college-wide course-cluster in animal studies. This concentration would be an attractive, organized component of the general education curriculum to a number of students at the junior and senior level, and would allow us to broaden the impact of our seminar experience to involve a number of other faculty beyond the members of our team.