Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Patterns and Play

In Faculty, Research on March 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

By Luis Arata, Professor of Modern Languages

The invitation to write a brief entry for this CAS blog about my involvement with the Santa Fe Institute came as a delightful surprise. It prompted me to remember how an unbroken research interest that took me from physics to literature brought me almost by accident in 2000 to a conference on models and modeling in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There I met biologist Stuart Kauffman who at the time was a resident faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Thanks to him I did the first of four two-week long residences at the Institute through 2004.

The Santa Fe Institute was formed in 1984. Scientists, mostly from the Los Alamos National Laboratories, and Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann founded the modest-sized Institute to carry out independent research on complex systems. It quickly became the leading place for this emerging area of investigations.

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Change from the Bottom-up

In Teaching on March 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm

The Learning Paradigm and

Cultural Change from the Bottom-up

By Keith Kerr Assistant Professor of Sociology

In all the discussions about how to implement the Learning Paradigm at Quinnipiac, it seems evident that a revolutionary cultural change is the goal. There has been extensive and invigorating discussion about new tools that can be utilized (from assessment tools to online portfolios) and new structures that can be created within the context of the Learning Paradigm (the ousting of the University Curriculum and implementation of “Independent Minors” are just two examples). While these discussions are both needed and good, they seem to have largely missed an important point. Cultural change is about much more than structural change. Sociology proper, since its beginning, has been very clear on this matter–culture cannot be artificially created from the top down. In other words, it cannot be created by altering structure alone. We may very well have the opportunity with the Learning Paradigm to create a more perfect structure. However, unless we see congruent changes within the expectations, values, beliefs and practices of students and faculty, the Learning Paradigm will fail.

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