Integrated Human Studies units developed at UWA will examine the complex problems facing the world this century, and tap into the energy of incoming students.
The first-year units 'Humanity in the 21st Century' and ‘Human Action for World Futures' complement and give context to a variety of degree paths. Both units provide broad cross-disciplinary understanding and skills.
"Human actions have brought us to the brink of catastrophe: we face issues of global inequity, overpopulation, climate change, and the list goes on," says Centre for Integrated Human Studies director Professor Neville Bruce. "The problems are so complex there is even a special term for them: wicked problems. A single disciplinary approach is not enough to apprehend these problems and propose solutions."
Professor Bruce believes bright students entering tertiary education have the desire and energy to create a better future for humans, but are often channelled into narrow vocational pathways. Broader understandings and skills will make it clear to students how their chosen career fits in to the global picture.
"It's essential to build our future on a firm understanding of the past and of our current situation," he said. "What does it mean to be a human? How do our needs and desires shape our actions? What do we need to do - or avoid doing - in order to enable a future on this planet that is equitable, peaceful and sustainable?"
Integrating the humanities and the sciences is key. "The sciences measure and test our knowledge of the world around us and are essential in proposing technological solutions to problems," said Professor Bruce. "But the arts and humanities are equally important in examining and representing our values and aspirations, and imagining our futures."
For more information about Integrated Human Studies at UWA, phone 6488 2324 or visit www.ihs.uwa.edu.au.