The BRAID Project

 
 

In 1959 C. P. Snow's lecture “The Two Cultures” spotlighted that one half of academia did not read Dickens, while the other half could not define the Second Law of Thermodynamics. His concerns struck a chord and its resonance at Michigan State University ultimately led in 1967 to the founding of the residential living-learning community, Lyman Briggs College, in response. It was created to reunite the scholars of the sciences and humanities for the education of undergraduates.

Briggs’ curriculum was designed to weave together disciplines to create courses of “The Third Culture." Interdisciplinary experiments in teaching have been promoted at Lyman Briggs residential college for greater than 45 years and recently were re-energized by a sequence of pedagogy projects. In the late 1990s Dr. Robert Shelton led a MULTI-funded project to more tightly interweave the teaching of Biology with that of Science & Technology Studies (STS, now called HPS). Responding to an idea developed by Dr. Diane Ebert-May, in 2005 Drs. Douglas Luckie and Ryan Sweeder took the baton from Dr. Shelton and initiated a long-term formal research project, the BRAID, to study the effects on student learning of attempts to interlace science, mathematics and HPS (History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science) teaching and learning at Lyman Briggs College.

The BRAID project, "Bridging the Disciplines with Authentic Inquiry & Discourse," is an National Science Foundation and Michigan State University project focused on the development and study of experimental interdisciplinary learning experiences for undergraduate science majors in the courses offered at Lyman Briggs College. It is our belief that the students who see the interconnectedness of all the different science disciplines will gain a much deeper and richer understanding of science. Further, by making connections with the HPS courses offered within Briggs, we believe that the students will gain a much better understanding of the role of science in society and will be able to better appreciate both its applicability and limitations.

 

BRAID: Researching Interdisciplinary Learning