In part, a liberal education seeks to produce citizens who are synthesizers of information, interrogators of knowledge, and discerners of meaning—citizens equipped to question and enact justice. While a school fosters such critical thinking in myriad ways, integrative approaches to learning provide students with skills and dispositions fundamental to this aim: identifying preconceptions and bias, recognizing the validity of another’s point of view, appreciating ambiguity, understanding ethical considerations, sparking creative problem-solving, and ultimately employing these skills in the pursuit of bettering our world.
At Phillips Academy, interdisciplinary approaches to learning can be structured in varied ways, yet the core component of any interdisciplinary experience has the student—the epistemological site of learning—place two or more disciplines in an active, sustained conversation that stresses connections.
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies creates, houses, and supports individual courses devoted to interdisciplinary learning as well as courses devoted to the study of varied axes of identity and forms of commonality and difference, including race-class-gender-sexuality. The Department also collaborates with other departments to embed such study across the curriculum. Throughout its work, the Department is guided by its stated philosophy outlined in “Interdisciplinary Work at Andover: Purpose and Scope” (2016).