The thriving of numerous interdisciplinary programs across the country lend support to the enduring value and significance of the interdisciplinary education. In bringing together key individuals from Canada’s leading interdisciplinary programs, the organizers of the Combining Two Cultures conference seek to facilitate a dialogue that ensures that the value of interdisciplinary education across the nation not only persists, but also continues to offer interested individuals an exceptional quality of education.
The Arts & Science program at McMaster was established to provide students capable of excelling in both Arts and Science with an intensive interdisciplinary education. The program is designed to foster personal development and critical self-awareness. In analyzing the current vision statement of the Arts & Science program, we realized that we were overlooking an invaluable avenue to improve interdisciplinary education: collaboration. The Combining Two Cultures conference aims to bring together like-minded individuals so that we can ask and answer questions vital to the existence of our programs: Why does Interdisciplinary education need to exist? How do we keep Interdisciplinary programs distinct, important, and relevant?
In opening up these questions beyond our own programs, we hope to invite students and professors who will bring fresh insights and perspectives. Furthermore, we hope to construct this conference in a way that mirrors our educational approach with emphasis on non-hierarchical communication and discussion. The focus of the conference will be on creating an atmosphere where the distinctiveness of different programs are appreciated, but also used to inspire and suggest alternative ways of framing our education. Finally, we hope to instil a renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride in the value of interdisciplinary education and of the possibilities and potential it lends to the future.