Humanizing STEMM for the 21st Century

A Faculty Futures Symposium

March 13 from 9 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. | John Lewis Student Center

Science cannot live by and unto itself alone: transformative higher education depends on better integrating the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Over the last decade, various reports by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have determined that educational programs that integrate learning experiences in the humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS) with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students. Among the learning outcomes observed with the integration of arts and humanities are “critical thinking, communications skills, the ability to work well in teams, content mastery, improved visuospatial skills, increased empathy, resilience, and self-efficacy, and improved motivation and enjoyment of learning.” Integration also positively affects overall academic success indicators, including “the recruitment, learning, and retention of women and underrepresented minorities.” The integration of the social sciences is a top priority because “nearly every major challenge the United States faces . . . requires understanding the causes and consequences of people’s behavior.” They are “critical” for the nation’s “well-being” and produce “fundamental knowledge, methods, and tools that provide a greater understanding of people and how they live.” Based on these findings, the Academies have made calls to action for future interdisciplinary integration at the level of individual courses, certificates, and entire degree programs.

Why is such an intentional fusion of HASS & STEMM essential?

In a swiftly technologizing world, human-centered creativity should not remain siloed based on the demarcations developed to satisfy the knowledge economy of the late 19th century; and they should also not be maintained at a mere surface level in general education requirements developed in the wake of the two world wars. Instead, they deserve to shape new educational technology actively, work in concert with STEMM disciplines, and affirm their relevance and value as part of a newly holistic educational experience. This will help academic institutions educate border-crossing and collaborative problem solvers who bring to the table a serious commitment to the welfare of humanity.

With this symposium, we want to sample existing kinds of integration between HASS and STEMM at Georgia Tech. Beyond that, we will explore and envision how Georgia Tech might develop future integrations similar to those suggested by the National Academies. The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (IAC) invites you to join us for this important conversation on March 13 in the Northside event space at the John Lewis Student Center. The symposium will feature two discussion panels with colleagues from IAC and other colleges, followed by a luncheon, and then a keynote presentation with multiple respondents.


9 – 9:30 a.m.
Registration & Coffee

9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Panel I: Integration, What is it Good For?

  • Steven P. Girardot, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • Beki Grinter, Professor, School of Interactive Computing; Associate Dean for Faculty Development, College of Computing 
  • Evans Harrell, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics; former Associate Dean for Research, College of Science
  • Aisha Johnson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Outreach, GT Library
  • Julia Kubanek, Professor, Schools of Biological Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry; GT Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research
  • Aaron Levine, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy; Associate Dean of Research & Outreach, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Leah S. Misemer, Assistant Director, Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)

11 a.m. ­– 12:15 p.m.
Panel II: Practicing Integration

  • Joe F. Bozeman III, Assistant Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering & School of Public Policy 
  • Helen Anne Curry, Melvin Kranzberg Professor in History of Technology, School of History & Sociology
  • Shatakshee Dhongde, Associate Professor, School of Economics; Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Margaret Kosal, Associate Professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
  • Andy Frazee, Senior Academic Professional & Director of Writing and Communication
  • Brian Magerko, Professor of Digital Media, School of Literature, Media, and Communication 
  • Amanda Weiss, Assistant Professor of Japanese, School of Modern Languages

12:15 p.m.
Lunch buffet opens

12:30 – 2:15 p.m.
Keynote & Responses: Finding a Binocular View for Science and the Humanities

Keynote Speaker & Presentation

Few people are better informed about the national discussions on these top-of-mind questions than our keynote speaker. Lisa Margonelli is editor in chief of Issues in Science and Technology, a quarterly science policy magazine that is a partnership between the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and Arizona State University. She is also a professor of practice at the ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the author of Oil on the Brain: Petroleum’s Long Strange Trip to Your Tank and Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology. Her writing has appeared in The AtlanticWiredthe Nation, New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others. Formerly the editor in chief of Zócalo Public Square, she worked on energy policy at the New America Foundation from 2006-12.

Keynote: Finding a Binocular View for Science and the Humanities

Today, efforts to combine the sciences and the humanities often use one as a sidecar to another, but could a binocular vision create a wider field of view for both systems of knowledge? And could this “double vision” help to solve some of humanity’s pressing socio-technical problems? This talk will begin with a brief envisioning of what such a binocular view might reveal, drawn from my years spent hanging out in science labs trying to parse their activities through my own education in the humanities. The second half will survey existing and possible initiatives that make use of a binocular viewpoint.


  • Chaouki Abdallah, Executive Vice President for Research
  • Diley Hernandez, Associate Vice President, Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Kaye Husbands Fealing, Dean, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair
  • Steven McLaughlin, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Aaron Shackelford, Director, Georgia Tech Arts