Faculty reflections on a STEAM-inspired interdisciplinary studio course

Nicola Sochacka, Kelly Woodall Guyotte, Joachim Walther, Nadia N. Kellam

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Concerns regarding America's standing as a globally competitive innovator have spurred a growing interest in STEAM (STEM + the Arts) education. Set against this context, this paper uses collaborative autoethnographic techniques to uncover and explore some of the possibilities and pitfalls of STEAM-inspired learning. Data for the study entails an email exchange between the first two authors of this paper, instructors from environmental and art education, respectively, who co-taught a transdisciplinary, split-level, design studio in fall of 2012. In line with the research approach, the emails describe "epiphanies" that were experienced in the process of facilitating the design studio which included students from Art Education, Environmental and Civil Engineering, and Landscape Architecture. Key possibilities and pitfalls identified in the analysis of the emails center around the question of how STEM disciplines and the arts might be thoughtfully integrated in a reciprocal manner. Specifically, the paper highlights potential difficulties associated with current understandings of STEAM education which, almost without exception, focus on the sole objective of calling upon the arts to increase the creativity of STEM majors. Concurrently, it is observed that insufficient attention is presently given to what STEM disciplines might contribute to the arts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013


Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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