University Seminars Named
The first two interdisciplinary seminars focus on global health and international water rights

Two critical issues facing the world today—understanding global health and the role of water rights in international relations—will be the focus of the first University Seminars, a new program aimed at combining interdisciplinary research with civic engagement. The seminars, which will be open to all students from across the university, will begin in the fall 2008 semester.

Provost Jamshed Bharucha had asked faculty last summer to submit proposals for the program and in November announced the first two. Each University Seminar is team-taught by faculty from multiple schools and examines a major societal problem from the perspective of various disciplines. Bharucha says he hopes undergraduates and graduate students will benefit from interacting with one another in the seminars. “There are very few curricular opportunities right now at any institution to bring different schools and disciplines together,” he says.

The seminar on health issues, “Towards a Deeper Understanding of Global Health: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Health of People, Animals and the Environment,” will be led by Gretchen Kaufman and Joann M. Lindenmayer , both assistant professors in the Department of Environmental and Population Health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; J. Michael Reed, a professor in the biology department; and Elena Naumova, an associate professor of public health and family medicine at the School of Medicine.

The second seminar, “Water and Diplomacy at Tufts: Integration of Science, Engineering and Negotiations,” will be taught by Shafiqul Islam, professor and Bernard M. Gordon senior faculty fellow in engineering and associate dean for research; Jay Shimshack, assistant professor of economics; and William Moomaw, professor of international environmental policy and the director for international environment and resource policy at the Fletcher School.

During the spring of 2008, the core seminar faculty members will meet every two weeks with a facilitator from the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to develop curriculum and to explore the best teaching methods to use.

This story ran in the December 2007 issue of the Tufts Journal.