In a world that is increasingly inter-disciplinary, providing students with an opportunity to collaborate outside their respective disciplines is a new approach to expanding their perspectives.
Two fourth-year leadership courses at UBC Okanagan, one in engineering and the other in nursing, have developed a joint module to provide students with an opportunity to collaborate outside their respective disciplines.
Alon Eisenstein is an assistant professor of technology, entrepreneurship, and professional development at the School of Engineering and was one of the instructors who sought to find some common ground between the two disciplines. “At its core, leadership is about seeing the world from multiple perspectives; especially outside your own,” he says. “Being exposed to different world views in this case health, patient care, and technology provides our students valuable lessons.”
This summer is the third time Eisenstein has taught his Engineering Leadership course but this time around his students were paired with nursing students in Sarah Camacho’s Nursing Leadership course for a module on “leadership ethics.”
Much has been made of the legal troubles of American health care company Theranos and its now-disgraced CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Camacho and Eisenstein saw an opportunity to use Theranos as a case-study to teach their students about ethical leadership.
“We asked the students to discuss within their groups about the ethical considerations around the Theranos case. We specifically instructed the students to consider the case from healthcare perspective, as well as from technological innovation perspective,” explains Eisenstein.
According to Camacho, nursing and engineering students approach the case study from different perspectives and it led to some interesting outcomes. “From student responses, we’ve heard over and over how much engineering and nursing students valued the chance to interact, discuss, and hear from someone else’s perspectives.”
The partnership stems from an idea floated during a UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary leadership community of practice discussion earlier this year. The community includes faculty members from engineering, social work, education, nursing and management who are working together to uncover new ways to bring their students together to learn from one another.
Both Eisenstein and Camacho say they are excited to build upon the partnership and expand it to the other faculties’ leadership courses. “At the end of the day, providing our students with opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another, especially from different discipline, is an important take-away that will benefit them in their future careers.”
Students interested in learning more about undergraduate leadership courses consult the UBC Okanagan Course Calendar.