Disciplinary Thinking, Computational Doing: Collaborating for Mutual Enrichment

  • Valerie BarrEmail author


A multi-year effort, led by the Union College computer science (CS) department, in collaboration with two dozen non-CS faculty, resulted in the infusion of a computational component in many non-CS courses and the development of a number of new intermediate-level CS courses. Many of these changes and additions have persisted well beyond the end of the official project period. In this chapter we explore the collaborative mechanisms and the kinds of course changes undertaken.


Interdisciplinary Cross-department collaboration Computing education 



The National Science Foundation supported elements of this work under Grant No. IIS-0722203. Current and past members of the Union College CS department have contributed to development of curriculum, courses, and competency guidelines, and helped establish our relationships with faculty in other departments: Linda Almstead, Brendan Burns, Aaron Cass, Chris Fernandes, Dave Hannay, David Hemmendinger, John Rieffel, Kristina Striegnitz, Andrea Tartaro, and Nick Webb. Information on all faculty funded under this grant is available at, and I particularly acknowledge Eshragh Motahar (Economics), Jeff Corbin (Biology), and Andrew Burkett (English) for their ongoing enthusiasm for and commitment to interdisciplinary applications of computing.


  1. Barr, V. (2016). Disciplinary thinking, computational doing: Promoting interdisciplinary computing while transforming computer science enrollments. ACM Inroads, 7(2), 48–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barr, V., Burkett, A., & Webb, N. (2013). Introducing blake browser: William Blake and computational analysis. CUR Quarterly.Google Scholar
  3. Dvorak, T. (2016). Teaching programming in econometrics. Sixth Annual American Economic Association Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education (CTREE).Google Scholar
  4. Guzdial, M. (2003). A media computation course for non-majors. In D. Finkel (Ed.), Proceedings of the 8th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE ’03) (pp. 104–108). New York, NY, USA: ACM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Parton, W. J., Hartman, M., Ojima, D. S., & Schimel, D. S. (1998). DAYCENT and its land surface submodel: Description and testing. Global and Planetary Change, 19, 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Union CollegeSchenectadyUSA

Personalised recommendations