An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching and Learning

Mount Allison departments collaborate to establish new programs
By: Dr. Jennifer Tomes, Dean of Science

Several of Mount Allison’s newest programs take an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, building on established programs to give students more flexibility in their degrees.

As Dr. Vicki St. Pierre (Dean of Arts and Social Sciences) wrote in the last issue, faculty are adapting to the changing needs of students by forging new connections across departments. We understand that students gain different tools and perspectives from other disciplines and are finding new ways to combine our knowledge and expertise.

In the sciences, new program options include:

  • Biopsychology (major, honours, and certificate) — involves the intersection of biology and psychology, focusing on the more human aspects of biology and the more biological and neurological aspects of psychology. This is an example of an older program that has been brought back to life through collaboration between the biology and psychology departments. In the past, students interested in these areas would often major in one discipline and minor in the other. The new program allows them to focus more heavily on the aspects of the disciplines that interest them the most. It also allows them to pick up another, complementary minor to further broaden their experiences.
  • Health Studies (degree major, minor, honours, and certificate option) — the first program in our new Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc). The BASc is designed to be a balance of science, arts, humanities, and social science. It allows students the opportunity to examine topics from a broader, more interdisciplinary perspective. This is particularly effective for certain topics, like Health Studies. It will allow students to learn about the biological, psychological, and social determinants of health, and also to broaden their conception of what “health” is and what it entails. This major is a great foundation for individuals who may want to pursue a career in medicine, psychology, social work, public policy, or who are interested in focusing on addressing specific health issues in the future.
  • Language and the Mind (degree minor) — combines studies in psychology, linguistics, and modern languages to focus on languages, the study of languages, and linguistic processing. It is a great option for students interested in Speech Language Pathology, teaching languages, or those who love the study of language.

Grounded in the liberal arts and sciences education for which Mount Allison is known, these recently developed programs encourage students to take a multidisciplinary approach to complex, real-world problems. Combined with applied learning opportunities, they ensure that Mount Allison graduates enter the workforce as well-rounded professionals.