Skip to main content

SAIL - Seminars in Advanced Interdisciplinary Learning

Faculty at Azraq Wetland Reserve

ACM faculty visiting the Azraq Wetland Reserve in Jordan on the 2015 SAIL seminar.

The ACM-Mellon Seminars in Advanced Interdisciplinary Learning (SAIL) is a series of annual learning communities built around integrative place-based learning, which enable ACM faculty to explore a salient topic and collaborate to develop curricular resources.

By immersing faculty in settings that encourage multiple perspectives and collaboration across disciplines, the seminars lay the foundation for the participants to develop innovative, integrative advanced-level coursework.

Funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SAIL program consists of five annual seminars. Each of the seminars includes an intensive ten-day, on-site seminar at a site that offers rich resources for multidisciplinary lessons about the topic. The off-campus sites for the five seminars will alternate between domestic and international locations.

  • 2014: Contested Spaces — This seminar held its on-site component in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado during summer 2014. Seminar participants have engaged in curricular development throughout the 2014-15 academic year.
  • 2013: Mediterranean Trivium: Earth, Sea, & Culture in Italy — This seminar held its on-site component in Italy during summer 2013, with curricular development during the 2013-14 academic year.
  • 2012: Considering Animals — The first SAIL seminar, now completed, held its on-site component in Washington, DC in summer 2012, with curricular development during the 2012-13 academic year.

SAIL Seminar Goals

Each SAIL seminar is designed to:

  • Engage 15 ACM faculty across all divisions — math and natural sciences, arts and humanities, and social sciences — as leaders and participants;
  • Examine a broad, enduring topic in multidisciplinary contexts;
  • Foster the development of innovative, integrative curricular resources that will enhance the ability of advanced undergraduates to analyse complex problems from multidisciplinary perspectives;
  • Travel to a site that would be propitious for exploring the topic from various disciplinary perspectives;
  • Enlist a faculty leadership team representing the three disciplinary divisions to design the intellectual content and direct the seminar;
  • Benefit individual faculty and the advanced students who study with them.

In effect, SAIL will establish temporary research centers at sites around the globe, challenging participants to leave their physical and intellectual comfort zones and explore big questions through new methodologies and perspectives.

Please visit the following pages  for further information: