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Arizona State University - group project in Kilpisjärvi
posted by Tyska Samborska on 10 June 2018

In few days, the group of students from Arizona State University led by Professor Richard Lerman and Professor Becky Ball, will start their research project in Biological Station in Kilpisjärvi .

This program will pair undergraduate students from both science and non-science (art-related) majors to conduct and communicate group research projects in a polar ecosystem. They will compare their experiences with those from the desert environment in which they currently reside. Through this innovative learning opportunity, students will design, implement and present both an independent science-based research project and an artistic work communicating their findings from the study abroad experience in the Arctic.

The effectiveness of this pilot program will be evaluated to determine how the experience impacted student learning, attitudes about the sciences and arts, and College faculty perceptions of interdisciplinary instruction.

During the stay in Biological Station, students will attend lectures, workshops and fieldwork/artwork which will form the basis for final projects, all to be presented at the Station and back at ASU.

The assessment of this pilot program will contribute to knowledge about the effectiveness of incorporating science and art collaboration as an instructional practice for training a broader group of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and polar sciences. In addition, the course itself will prepare students for a strong future career in science or science communication, while broadening student participation in Arctic science by engaging non-science majors (who may hold personal biases against science) and pull students from the very diverse student body at Arizona State University’s West Campus.

The aim of this course is to develop a model for interdisciplinary courses between faculty members in the sciences and the arts to better train students; to deconstruct implicit biases about who “does” science and art and examine them as a College community to decrease science and art stereotypes about who participates in these fields; to leverage interdisciplinary courses to encourage a more diverse student body to enroll in a science major/minor and to increase science literacy among non-science majors; and to cultivate a wider variety of short-term study abroad interdisciplinary science courses, as these are often more accessible for a diverse group of students.

To read more about the project and follow along with their fieldwork, you can check the Polar Soils Blog:

http://polarsoils.blogspot.com

To know more about professor Richard Lerman:

https://newcollege.asu.edu/richard-lerman

For more informations about professor Becky Ball:

http://www.public.asu.edu/~rball5/