UBC Reports | Vol. 51 | No. 9 | Sep. 7, 2005
UBC an Innovator in Cross-Discipline Learning
UBC’s Arts One is the granddaddy of interdisciplinary programs. Since 1967, it has been helping first-year students integrate their studies of the humanities, which consist of English, philosophy and history. The program differs from UBC Arts’ other cross-disciplinary program, Foundations, which combines humanities with the social sciences.
Arts One maintains high standards and sets a fast pace. Students are expected to read every book on the reading list, participate in all lectures, seminars and tutorials and write a 1,500-word paper every two weeks. The program is worth 18 credits, allowing students 12 credits of electives.
Enrolling a total of 200 students, Arts One divides them into two separate groups with different instructors, timetables and subject matter. The students attend weekly lectures as cohorts of 100. They also attend weekly seminars in groups of 20 or less. To hone their writing skills, students meet in groups of four each week with a teaching assistant to read and critique each other’s papers.
Science One asks sudents to jump into scientific inquiry with both feet. The program integrates first-year studies of the traditional sciences: biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. By choosing appropriate electives, students meet the requirements for entry into all second-year science programs and pharmaceutical sciences.
An interdisciplinary faculty team teaches Science One courses. The program combines small classes, lectures, tutorials, laboratories and field trips. Students undertake a major independent research project.
Worth 27 credits and spanning two terms, the program stresses conceptual learning, and creative problem solving. Students are expected to ask questions, suggest solutions and defend their ideas, visions and findings.
Science One provides students with communications skills and places the onus on students to acquire knowledge and to develop the skills and initiative to create their own careers and opportunities.