Maryville College pilots a new interdisciplinary curriculum

This coming academic year students of Maryville College will be given the opportunity to participate in a small-scale interdisciplinary curriculum! This program will offer a portfolio class worth one elective credit that will combine the subject matter of three pre-existing classes. During this portfolio time, students and professors of the three classes will be able to discuss ideas and concepts that are interrelated.

In the fall, ART 212 (Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Art), REL 212 (World Religions), and INT 201 (Contemporary Global Issues), taught by Drs. Gombert, Irvine, and Gallagher are the classes whose content will be combined into the portfolio course.

In the spring, courses PLS 212 (International Politics), ECN 332 (Money and Banking), and SOC 320 (Development and Globalization), taught by Drs. Henson, Johnson, and Gunnoe will be discussed during the portfolio course.

“This is an opportunity for our students that grew out of our strategic planning process and offers the possibility of an enriched, more deliberately interdisciplinary curriculum for both students and faculty,” said professor of management John Gallagher. “Hopefully, it will be a first step in broader faculty exploration of integrated curricular possibilities.”

Dr. Henson, associate professor of political science, shares this positive view about the new curriculum. “This portfolio reflects the fundamental values of a liberal arts education,” said Henderson. “The goal is to intersect knowledge and give students the skills to relate concepts to one another, which will widen their perspective. The opportunity to access three professors and students from three different classes at one time is one we hope will be beneficial.”

Because this portfolio credit is being piloted this year, the outcome of student participation is uncertain; the success of the curriculum this year will determine whether the program will become more widespread in future years.

“I will be taking the PLS 212 and ECN 332 classes in the spring, which I’m excited about, and I think taking the portfolio credit, in addition, will help me become more academically well-rounded,” said freshman International Business major Margaret Saldeen.

Sophomore International Studies major Andrew Kuliasha, thinks the benefits of the interdisciplinary curriculum may reach further than the classroom.

“The portfolio course will certainly establish cohesiveness among the subjects of the three classes,” said Kuliasha. “What I think is cool is that I’m considering writing about the influence of political systems on economics, so I hope to learn something that could help me with that idea.”

In both semesters, the one-hour portfolio course will be offered on Fridays at 2:00 p.m. Students must take a minimum of two out of the three designated courses to qualify for the portfolio course, and, because the course is by instructor permission only, students must complete a schedule adjustment form to add PORTFOL/Lecture/07 to their schedule, which must be approved by the Registrar’s Office.

If you’re planning on taking any of the above-mentioned courses and would be interested in participating in or learning more about the interdisciplinary portfolio, talk to your advisor about adding it to your schedule!

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