Gustavus Adolphus College’s new Möbius Initiative is offering faculty and students an innovative way to explore the liberal arts by connecting teachers and learners from different disciplines in a series of collaborative projects.
The initiative symbolically takes its name from the Möbius strip, a continuous curve with only one side, and celebrates the breaking of disciplinary boundaries and spirit of interdisciplinary cooperation that characterizes the liberal arts tradition and equips its students to challenge old paradigms and to anticipate and innovate throughout their lives.
Now in its first year, the program is already supporting projects ranging from a chaplain and economics professor presenting on the subject of dehumanization under capitalism, to a student/professor pair serving as artists-in-residence in a month-long chemistry lab, to a co-authored article on restorative justice in ancient Greece by a political science professor and classics professor.
“I’m excited about the willingness of early participants to engage outside their area of expertise,” Hanson-Peterson Chair of Liberal Studies and classics professor Eric Dugdale said. “These projects are often process-oriented, not goal-oriented, which gives participants the freedom to experiment and make mistakes as they learn.”
Dugdale, one of the driving forces behind the initiative, hopes that the interdisciplinary liaisons will allow both students and faculty members to see the multifaceted nature of a liberal arts education. As the program continues to grow, he looks forward to including staff members and alumni in the projects to further expand the initiative’s scope and depth.
“Gustavus has a community in which faculty, students, and staff cooperate in many different configurations,” Dugdale explained. “There’s a spirit of collaboration on campus that Möbius supports by encouraging people to learn across departmental boundaries.”
The Möbius initiative is supported by the College’s John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning, the Office of the Provost, and the generous benefactors of the Hanson-Peterson Chair for Liberal Studies. Visit the Möbius Initiative website to learn more, see other ongoing interdisciplinary collaborations, or submit a project proposal.
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