Incorporating Thinking about the Earth across disciplines

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am Ogg: Phillips Lounge

Session Chairs

Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Adam Kuban, Ball State University
Research on undergraduate education programs has identified integration across disciplines as an ongoing challenge. This workshop will explore approaches to managing the integration of disciplines and perspectives. Specific emphasis will be on integrating thinking about the Earth across disciplines. This workshop will expose participants to an emerging model for team activities and structured opportunities to work with team members and other workshop participants to develop action plans and/or activities that incorporate thinking about the Earth across the undergraduate curriculum.


Interdisciplinary instruction and exploration is critical to engaging and helping students develop knowledge, insights, problem solving skills, self-confidence, self-efficacy, and collaboration skills to confront the many current and future environmental challenges posed by human activities. Knowledge integration across disciplines is at the heart of addressing important research challenges, such as impacts of global change, trade-offs between water, food, and energy production, and the need for sustainable cities. Additionally, a fundamental understanding of how to report and represent findings to lay audiences is critical. Interdisciplinary instruction advances cognitive ability and provides additional educational benefits for students including improve in their abilities to: recognize bias; think critically; tolerate ambiguity; and address ethical concerns.

Incorporating thinking about the Earth across disciplines helps students take a more holistic perspective and ultimately be responsible for a future dominated by environmental challenges. Providing students with the opportunity to connect their own expertise with the knowledge from other disciplines will catalyze their abilities to effectively access collaborative paths forward. The ability to work collaboratively with others who may hold very different perspectives is a critical aspect of preparing today's students to meet future workforce and research demands.

Target Audience

The workshop is targeted for faculty who are interested in more effectively integrating Earth concepts and collaboration into their current interdisciplinary curriculum and/or explore opportunities that can be done programmatically and in curricula to broaden the appeal of incorporation of Earth concepts into other areas of the undergraduate curriculum.


The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Bring together faculty from the physical sciences, social sciences, economics and the humanities to share strategies for incorporating Earth concepts into other parts of the undergraduate curriculum, including in non-geoscience courses.
  • Explore effective pedagogies for interdisciplinary teaching.
  • Identify themes where new teaching materials would facilitate incorporating Earth concepts into a multi-discipline perspective that includes geoscience.
  • Begin development of new teaching materials and/or plan for creating new curriculum materials.


Each day will include an introduction to the topic(s) for the day, collaborative activities designed to make participants familiar with key concepts, sharing ideas about how to approach specific tasks, participants working on materials for their own classes, and a final opportunity for reflection about tasks of incorporating Earth concepts into other aspects of the curriculum.

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