P399: Team-teaching art and chemistry in the honors curriculum
Using a studio-style classroom and some inquiry methodology, a course titled “Chemistry and Art” was offered through the honors program at our institution. The instructors consisted of two faculty, one each from chemistry and art history. Our students consisted of 3 or 4 chemistry majors, as many art majors, and the remaining (out of 15) drawn from random other areas. The 3-credit hour course satisfies the upper-division interdisciplinary requirement for our honors curriculum, and also may be used to fulfill both science and humanities gen ed requirements for university graduation. There were several difficulties behind offering this course. As has consistently been the case in many institutions, it is hard integrating science well into the honors curriculum, as these are often dominated by humanities faculty. There are structural difficulties in getting diverse departments to be willing to part with faculty for such a project, particularly with low enrollments. The stylistic aspects of professors of chemistry and art are significantly different that working together presents unusual challenges. Because of the inherent “messiness” of doing both chemistry and art in an inquiry mode, we needed a dedicated teaching space, and convincing the university to give us the needed area was not trivial. In this presentation, the course itself will be described, but also the issues we had to overcome, which are likely typical of any comprehensive university, will be addressed.