Rolling, Researching, and Reading on the River

6 faculty, 4 schools, 1 course—all of them add up to one very unique academic collaboration at Pace.

The Hudson River is a central force behind the development of our nation—financially, technologically, and even artistically. This spring, Pace students will have a unique opportunity to learn about the rich past and future of the Hudson River Valley through an exciting combination of experiential learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

“It is a fantastic experience in interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Theresa K. Lant, PhD, an associate professor of management within the Lubin School, who will be part of the new interdisciplinary course called “The Hudson River Experience” launched by the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. “I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary work because a lot of my research has to do with how you get people with different training and different perspectives to come together and solve society’s difficult problems.”

The course, which is scheduled to begin during the spring 2012 semester, will be taught collaboratively by six faculty members from different departments and schools within the University, including Dyson College, the Lubin School, the Seidenberg School, and the Law School. The course was developed with the intention of teaching students not only about the many environmental, business, and artistic influences of the river, but also how to cultivate the skills they need to think outside of the box and to work together in a collaborative way.

“I’m interested in educational and research initiatives that encourage students or faculty or scientists to reach across their educational boundaries to understand what other people are doing and how it can be relevant to questions they may have—regarding the environment and other societal problems. Complex problems need to be tackled in an interdisciplinary way,” says Lant.

Fellow course instructor John Cronin, 37-year veteran of environmental studies and Senior Fellow at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, agrees that the Hudson River transcends disciplines.

“By tackling the Hudson from the many points of view that we are, it’s really almost transdisciplinary,” he says of the course. “We designed The Hudson River Experience so that boundaries between our disciplines are completely porous. My specific job will be to help students integrate all of the course topics.”

As Cronin describes the course, policy and history, industry and politics, commerce and aesthetics, are all interrelated to one another in regards to the river. To talk about one topic, one must talk about all topics. “It’s a challenge to have faculty from four schools teach one course,” says Cronin, “but we all get along so well together and so easily identified our common interests that it was a pleasure to put the course together.”

The course, like Pace and the faculty who are developing it, is a reminder of how truly interconnected history, culture, and science are.

For more information about the course, join the faculty at an Information Session on Wednesday, October 26 at 12:20 p.m. in the Environmental Center. For course inquiries, contact Michelle Land, Director, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, or (914)773-3092.