Rethinking the Curriculum: Toward an Integrated, Interdisciplinary College Education

By Mary E. Clark ; Sandra A. Wawrytko | Go to book overview

CONSTRUCTIVE LINKING
TOWARD A MATRIX APPROACH IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Terrence H. White


THE CONTEMPORARY GLOBAL SCENE

In those rare moments when we are able to sit back and reflect on what is going on around us, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the sense that these are chaotic and changing times. Not only changing times, but tricky times--rapid and major technological advances; drought and famine; major health problems such as cancer and AIDS; continuing and unthinking degradation of our precious environmental resources; apparent normalizing of violence in human interactions through hijackings, terrorism, family violence, youth gangs "swarming" or "wilding," and other equally cowardly acts; continuing festering sores of wars and bitter disputes aided by the killing efficiency of modern weaponry; uncertainties in the disposal of nuclear wastes and decommissioned reactors; and the tragic living death and misery resulting from rampaging illicit drug trades.

Even to begin such a listing is difficult, and doubly discouraging, because you soon realize that it is going to be impossible to include every relevant concern. Our world--our environment--is characterized by enormous uncertainties and complexities, and is anyone forecasting that the future will be simpler and more tranquil?

Comedian Woody Allen has described our times as "a crossroads-- down one road is gloom, doom, and misery; down the other is nuclear war. I hope that our leaders have the wisdom to pick the right path." Certainly these are tricky times and individuals do need to be educated well, to be in tune with their environments, with what is going on around them, as never before, if they are to be adaptive, successful, and, most importantly, survivors.

As educated citizens, we are well aware of these slippages in the quality of our lives. Some of us, although very busy with our careers and other activities, may even have become involved in fighting an issue that so

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