Visiting Speaker Bridges the Gap Between Arts and Sciences

Youngmoo HeadshotWhat does an interdisciplinary scholar look like?  Look no further than Dr. Youngmoo Kim from Drexel University. Dr. Kim has devoted his entire career to transdisciplinary education, and currently serves as Director of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. With an impressive background in electrical engineering, vocal performance, and media arts, it is no wonder that Dr. Kim is regarded internationally as a top interdisciplinary scholar. Dr. Kim delivered his talk, “Creativity is Connecting Things: Transdisciplinary Integration in Higher Education,” on February 25 at the Bradley Reading Room in FSU’s Strozier Library.

Centering his remarks on how to break down the disciplinary silos that divide academia, Dr. Kim used the idea of “Branches from the Same Tree” to demonstrate the importance of integrating the arts, humanities, and sciences within higher education. He urged universities to invest in “boundary-crossing pathways and programs” that integrate STEM with the arts and humanities. Drawing upon his work at Drexel’s ExCITe Center, Dr. Kim’s examples included projects such as teaching robots to play music or integrating drones into dance performances (lesson one: never ever fly drones near dancers).

It was projects like these that brought FSU iSchool Professor Paul Marty to visit Drexel’s ExCITe Center in 2016. Ever since then, he has been working to bring Dr. Kim to Tallahassee to share his knowledge with FSU faculty, staff, and students. “I was very happy to have him visit us and speak here at FSU,” Dr. Marty said. “Youngmoo Kim is, hands down, the most interdisciplinary scholar that I have ever met.”

Dr. Marty serves as the chair of the Steering Committee for FSU’s Innovation Hub. Since the Innovation Hub’s opening in 2018, students, faculty, and staff from across campus have come together to encourage a culture of creativity and innovation through design thinking and emerging technologies. Dr. Marty is grateful to Dr. Kim and the ExCITe Center at Drexel for their transdisciplinary efforts in academia, finding Dr. Kim’s work to be “inspirational.”