Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Doing The Creative Frontier: A Scientist and a Humanist Learn to Teach Humanities Together

Dr. Susan Leist, Dr Stanley Kardonsky.

In 1954, C.P. Snow was invited to deliver the Rede Lecture at Cambridge University. He delivered a speech that he titled “The Two Cultures” and that caused a furore in the academic world. In it he articulated, the first person to do so publicly, the schism between science and the humanities, and he was quick to see the dangers that schism presented.
Stanley Kardonsky, Ph.D. Nuclear Physics, Vice President for Finance and Management and Susan Leist, EDD, Composition and Literature Pedagogy, Professor, English Department are currently teaching a course entitled “The Two Cultures”. In it we explore the nature of the two cultures, their differences and their commonalties. Our heuristic questions for the course are:
1. How do the scientist and the humanist go about their respective work?
2. Have science and the humanities always been separate cultures?
3. Can the two cultures be bridged?
4. What sort of dialogue can bring about that connection?
5. Can students understand and become participants in that dialogue?
This presentation will relate our story. It will describe this team teaching experience from its conceptual beginnings through the actualization of that concept. In it, we will talk about “doing” the course, what we have learned from teaching it and how we have changed from the experience.


Dr. Susan Leist  (United States)
Full Professor in English
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
State University of New York College at Buffalo

Dr. Susan Leist came to SUNY College at Buffalo in 1991. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University and a doctorate from the University of Virginia. Her education and scholarship are wide-ranging. Her literary specialty is British medieval and Renaissance literature. Her pedagogical specialties are composition and other language arts. She teaches in the English education and the Humanities programs. Both of her books are Scholarship of Teaching, since both rise out of materials she has created for her classrooms, whether those classrooms were filled with other faculty members or students. She also writes poetry and short stories.

Dr Stanley Kardonsky  (United States)

SUNY College at Buffalo

  • Team teaching
  • "The Two Cultures"
  • Interdisciplinary teaching
  • Interdisciplinary studies

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)