Integrative Science & Math Education at Carleton

In 2012 Carleton College received a four-year, $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to promote integrative science and math education. In an era of incredible scientific creativity and discovery, we recognize that training in the latest scientific knowledge is necessary, but not sufficient, to prepare future leaders in science and medicine. We must also prepare students to make intellectual connections across contexts, to adapt ideas to new situations, and to address ill-structured problems in multidisciplinary teams. We must prepare them to be integrative learners.

Carleton College science and math faculty work to increase students' ability to transfer, apply, and synthesize their classroom learning into a coherent and usable body of knowledge. We provide multiple opportunities to for students to practice using this knowledge in research, teaching, and real-world problem solving.


The strategies we are using to engage students in integrative learning and innovative problem solving include:

  • Curricular development that builds explicit linkages between specific pairs or sets of courses
  • Cohort programs that support the persistence of students in science and math
  • Incorporating authentic research experiences into coursework, and enhancing student-faculty research experiences
  • Providing opportunities for students to engage in community-based learning and community-based research, where student apply their learning in a real-world context
  • Providing opportunities for students to review, deepen, and integrate their previous learning by teaching others at Carleton and in the community

In collaboration with SERC, a national leader in supporting, evaluating, and disseminating science education, we are developing assessments to measure improvements in students' integrative ability across all components of our program.

An evaluation framework was created by the assessment team at the December, 2012 Making Connections workshop.

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