LEEP Lectures let faculty collaborate across disciplines, provide unique perspectives

What are the chances you would see a psychologist giving a presentation in a political science class?  Beginning this fall, such an appearance would not be unlikely.  In the past few months, some unlikely disciplines have collided through a tactic known as the “LEEP Lecture.”

LEEP Lectures involve collaborations between faculty members from distinct disciplines, who provide guest lectures, laboratories, workshops, or field experiences in courses where they can offer a highly relevant and illuminating, if different, academic perspective.

The visiting LEEP Lecturer will offer a novel viewpoint and encourage thinking across disciplines. For example, a biologist might give a lecture on retroviruses in the philosophy course “The AIDS Pandemic,” a historian might offer a lecture on medieval thought in “The History of Mathematics,” or a studio art faculty member might lead a workshop on observation and drawing in “Botanical Diversity.”

LEEP Lectures help to promote interdisciplinary exchanges without requiring interdepartmental courses.  The Lectures also emphasize the fourth LEEP learning outcome: the ability to integrate knowledge and skills.

“One of the most important aspects of the LEEP Lectures is that students will gain a novel perspective on the subject. They will also be exposed to faculty they may not encounter in their majors,” said Mary-Ellen Boyle, associate provost and dean of the college. “LEEP Lectures should surprise, challenge and illuminate.”

These Clark faculty members have participated in LEEP Lectures this fall:

  • Jennie Stephens, associate professor of Environmental Science and Policy, and Sarah Michaels, professor of Education
  • Janette Greenwood, professor of History, and John Brown, professor of Economics
  • John Brown, professor of Economics, and Nina Kushner, associate professor of History
  • Michael Addis, professor of Psychology, and Valerie Sperling, professor of Political Science
  • Bob Ross, professor of Sociology, and Ousmane Power-Green, associate professor of History.

Funding for LEEP Lectures offered during the 2013-14 Academic Year is being provided by the Davis Educational Foundation grant.

The LEEP initiative builds upon the historic and distinctive strengths of Clark by integrating life-changing world, workplace and personal experiences with a robust liberal arts curriculum, thereby giving students the range of skills needed to thrive in today’s complex, ever-changing world. LEEP forges valuable connections among students and the types of global businesses, organizations, and communities upon which they will make their mark.