Remaking Liberal Arts In and Out of Higher Ed

On Tuesday, May 12, at 3:30 p.m. in The McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC) Auditorium, Jon McKenzie, professor of English and director of Design Lab, University of Wisconsin will host a lecture on remaking liberal arts in and out of higher ed.


When The Chronicle of Higher Education provocatively asks “Is Design Thinking the New Liberal Arts?”, one wonders what is happening to the liberal arts when a single method could plausibly renew or even replace them? Exploring the historical challenges facing the liberal arts, this multimedia presentation will outline a series of experiments and models for generating transdisciplinary collaboration and problem-solving. Design, performance, and media offer valuable bridges across the arts and sciences and, within them, between theory and practice, knowledge and wisdom. Key is the co-creation of real-world opportunities via an emergent culture of making, visualization, and storytelling that ranges from personal stories and official histories to conceptual explanations and simulations of complex processes—all crafted for a diversity of audiences and participants both inside the academy and out. What does it mean to problem-solve far beyond one’s apparent field? How might such experimental work enrich and transform research and learning? What’s it take to remake the liberal arts?