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This presentation argues for the benefits of “study away,” especially when offered as an interdisciplinary program. The poster reports on results of the UNG summer 2017 Art/Literature “Honors Study Away” pilot program, which was funded by a Presidential Innovation Incentive Award. Considering scholarship regarding the effects of study abroad and interdisciplinary learning on student development, the poster examines the 2017 Daufuskie Island Honors Study Away as a case study for “study away,” offering evidence of the participants’ unique opportunities to practice integrative thinking at a relatively affordable cost.

The Honors Study Away pilot program (taught by Jennifer Graff and Tanya Bennett) offered two Honors core courses – ART 1100H Art Appreciation and ENGL 2160H Multicultural American Literature. The instructors merged these courses through an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach and offered the program during the second summer session of 2017. Students completed the first four and a half weeks of the linked classes primarily online, with several campus meetings strategically scheduled for increased student success. The mostly-online delivery enabled students from multiple UNG campuses, and students living off-campus for the summer, the chance to participate in the program. The program culminated in a mandatory five-day “study away” trip to Daufuskie Island, SC.

For the purposes of this study, we define integrative thinking as the ability

  1. to approach a question or problem across disciplines and discrete settings
  2. to synthesize ideas, concepts and images in a meaningful and purposeful way, and
  3. to apply abstract concepts and information meaningfully to human experience.

To assess the program’s success, we employed an integrative thinking rubric to compare student performance on an initial D2L discussion post to that on the Final Reflection Essay. The poster presents and interprets findings.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Author Biography:

      Tanya Long Bennett is Dean of the Honors Program and Professor of English. She has taught at UNG (previously NGCSU) since 2001. Originally from Texas, she earned her BA in English at Angelo State University, her MA in English at Texas A&M University, and her PhD in English at University of Tennessee. Her primary areas of research are teaching and learning, focused on composition and liberal education; and 20th century fiction, particularly the novels of Lee Smith, Ana Castillo, Iris Murdoch, Don Delillo, and Lillian Smith. Her community service revolves around promotion of literacy and a love for books, as well as promotion and protection of civil liberties for all. Jennifer Graff is Associate Head of Visual Arts, Associate Professor of Visual Arts, and Gainesville Honors Program Director. A ceramics artist with an MFA from University of Georgia, she has been teaching ceramics and art appreciation at UNG (previously GSC) for over a decade. As a practicing artist and professor, she seeks to foster students’ ability to combine skill, knowledge, and creativity and for original and powerful expression.