West, R., Oakton Community Coll., D. I., & And, O. (1991). The Liberal Art of Science: Science and History in an Honors Program.
In 1989, Oakton Community College (OCC) in Des Plaines, Illinois, began developing an honors core seminar in the sciences. The course was to be an interdisciplinary, laboratory-based science and humanities seminar, designed to explore the nature, process, and methods of science and the place of science in society. Rather than mastering a body of information, students would learn a process of inquiry. The course integrated two existing syllabi that had already been approved for credit transfer to four-year institutions, "Introduction to Physical Science," and "Culture and Science in the Western Tradition." An interdisciplinary team of nine faculty, working with two external consultants, spent 5 months developing the philosophy, objectives, and structure of the course. During the first 4 weeks of the course, a physicist taught students about concepts of motion. For the second 4-week unit, a chemist taught about the nature of matter. During the third 4-week unit, a geologist introduced students to plate tectonics. During each of the 4-week units, a historian related scientific concepts in their historical, economic, and cultural context. During the final 4 weeks of the course, all four instructors were present for discussions of contemporary research in their fields, and dominant paradigms. A copy of the course syllabus; a review of laboratory experiments, teaching methods, and other course activities (for students); sample lab problems; sample narrative responses provided by students on a follow-up questionnaire evaluating the course; detailed narrative examinations of each unit written by the different instructors; and a 68-item bibliography, are included.