Something very exciting is happening in the world of higher education: The study of art is beginning to be integrated into science-based programs, such as engineering. Whereas engineering has traditionally been studied alone, now universities are creating programs that encompass both art and science. What is the reason for this?
Universities such as Arizona State, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are combining art studies with engineering/science programs to foster creative thinking in students. Because engineers must constantly come up with fresh designs and perspectives, creative thinking is crucially important for them to cultivate.
A doctoral student from Arizona State University commented that engineers commonly make tiny improvements on things that have been previously established, without truly permitting their creativity to “take full force.” She went on to say that artists can help engineers learn to think in a new way, and ultimately unlock their creative potential.
Perhaps the main benefit of studying art along with engineering is the betterment of a student’s creative capacity. However, partaking in such a program offers a student benefits that go beyond an augmented ability to think creatively. Studying art along with science also benefits engineers by helping them secure employment in today’s tough job market and assisting them in solving complex problems.
Several schools offer interdisciplinary programs of art and science. The University of California – Davis offers an Art/Science Fusion Program; Stanford University provides a “joint” M.F.A. and M.S. program in Product and Visual Design; MIT recently began a center for Art, Science, and Technology; The College of Engineering at the University of California – Santa Barbara “co-hosts” a program (graduate level) in Media Arts and Technology; and Arizona State University provides a graduate degree program in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Arts, Media, and Engineering.
The outcomes of the above schools’ educational programs are demonstrating to us that both art and science are taken to the next level of innovation when coupled with one another. What’s more, students’ increased ability to think creatively as a result of these interdisciplinary programs is proving that art and science make a genius combination.
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