An Interdisciplinary Model for Liberal Arts Computing Curricula

  • Amanda M. Holland-MinkleyEmail author
  • Samuel B. Fee


Over the decades, significant work has gone into defining appropriate adaptations of formal computer science curricula for the philosophy and resource constraints of a liberal arts institution. We propose an alternate model for liberal arts computing curricula that prioritizes interdisciplinary approaches and content. This approach reflects both traditional and modern perspectives on the strength of liberal arts education. We illustrate how this interdisciplinary model for a computing curriculum has been implemented at our institution through a curriculum that prioritizes inherent interdisciplinarity, broad perspectives on computing, constructivist pedagogies embedded throughout the curriculum, support for inclusive computing education, and administrative flexibility. In particular, we take a broad view of the interdisciplinary potential of computing education, drawing not only on traditional connections to math and science, but also to psychology, art, philosophy, history, and other disciplines. Through this perspective, we are able to, with limited resources, offer numerous programs of study. These include both a major and minor in Computing and Information Studies as well as supporting concentrations for non-majors in Computational Science, Graphic Design, and Professional Writing. We also offer a wide variety of courses supporting other college programs and the college-wide curriculum.


Computing Computer science Education Curriculum Pedagogy Interdisciplinary Liberal arts 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computing and Information StudiesWashington & Jefferson CollegeWashingtonUSA

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