Integrated Human Studies: Engaging Students with an Interdisciplinary Focus on Human Wellbeing within a Sustainable Environment
The university sector is seemingly highly successful. It continues to grow rapidly in numbers of institutions, staff and students and in public and private sector acceptance and support. It quickly adapts with ever increasing specialisation of courses to meet the demands of technological progress, economic growth and vocational training. But are universities still providing critical and innovative programmes needed to address the crucial and multifactorial problems facing humankind today; the population explosion, inequitable distribution of resources and global warming to name but some? This inaugural World Universities Forum implicitly raises such questions by setting the challenge “….there is an urgent need for academe to connect more directly and boldly with the large questions of our time….”. Integrated Human Studies (IHS) is our answer to this challenge. IHS brings together the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities to focus on the nature and future of humankind. Its ultimate concern is to improve human wellbeing within a sustainable environment. IHS lies well within the greater university traditions; it offers an academic challenge and social relevance that directly appeals to student imagination and intellectual energy. In this paper we examine developments in IHS and cognate studies and present guidelines on how such studies could be introduced as an orientation to specialised and vocationally based courses. IHS aims to develop in students a curiosity about human origins and histories and above all germinate a concern for, and intent to participate in improving the future for humankind.
Keywords: Integrated Human Studies, Curriculum Development
Prof. Neville Bruce
Associate Professor, Integrated Human Studies
Brilliana von Katterfeld
Associate Lecturer, Integrated Human Studies