Integration of the Arts in STEM: A Collective Case Study of Two Interdisciplinary University Programs

The arts represent a range of visual and performance based fields that have shown to have profound intrinsic and cognitive benefits. Building on this premise, one of the emerging ways to integrate the arts with other academic disciplines is the inclusion of the arts with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning, renaming it STEAM. This qualitative study aims to understand the experiences of individuals that have pioneered university programs that integrate the arts with STEM and to share student learning experiences within these interdisciplinary programs. Bolman and Deal’s theories of organizational development, sociocultural theory, and experiential learning theory are the three guiding frameworks in the analysis of leadership and student learning in the selected university programs. Using a collective case study methodology, I compare and contrast extant and interview data to paint the picture of two distinct university programs.