Proposal for Bridge Colloquia

From: David Brown 
To: wpi_faculty@WPI.EDU
Subject: everything's a bridge **
Date: Fri,  1 May 1998 13:51:23 -0400 (EDT)

I'd like to propose a companion initiative to accompany the NSF funded
"bridge course" proposal (by Art Heinricher, I think).  

The idea is to establish a regular series of colloquium talks where
faculty from one discipline (read that as "department" if you want)
give a lecture to another.  An ME faculty member talks in Chemistry, a
ECE faculty member talks in Biotech, etc etc. 

I think we have to call them "Bridge Colloquia". 

I think we ought to encourage less obvious mixtures, and less obvious
selections within a discipline.  For example, having me talk in ME,
with my Artificial Intelligence in Design interests, is a no-brainer,
but selecting someone from CS in databases or computer networks would
be (in some sense) much more interesting.  I'd even be in favor of
`random' selection.  Graph Theory in the Humanities anyone?

I'd suggest that these talks be at a level where at least senior level
undergrads could understand them -- we tend too much to think of
colloquia as a faculty and grad activity. 

These lectures would reinforce the proposed bridge courses between
core courses in different disciplines, and would broaden the general
knowledge of all who attend.

An additional advantage is that it would allow faculty to see
potentials for interdisciplinary cooperation and research --
something our size and environment should support -- and would
introduce faculty to each other across the campus, making the campus
more cohesive. 

I'd suggest that EVERY department commit to having 1-2 such talks per
year. I'd also like to suggest that every department have at least one
talk devoted to pedagogy.

I'd be happy to discuss this with anyone.


** there's also the "Summer Bridge Program". 

Mon May 4 20:41:07 EDT 1998