2018-2019 Networking Groups
During 2018-2019, four interdisciplinary research networking groups met around the topics described below.
Today, more than half of all humans live in cities. By 2050, it is estimated that more than two-thirds will. Cities are incubators of innovation and engines of economic development, but they face enormous challenges due to pollution, climate change, crime, inequality, etc. Chicago is a paradigmatic modern city whose challenges have the potential to connect a large number of Northwestern faculty and to address a guiding principle of the University – connecting with the community.
The Chicago group included faculty from Feinberg, McCormick, Weinberg, SESP, Pritzker, and the School of Communication and was led by Suzan van der Lee from Earth and Planetary Sciences in Weinberg and Andrew Papachristos from Sociology in Weinberg.
Studying the human mind has been a scholarship focus for millennia. An abundance of new tools are enabling neuroscientists, psychologists, and education researchers to attempt to answers new scientific questions. For example, while researchers have identified different learning strategies – deep, strategic, surface – it is unknown how the use of specific learning strategies is affected by cognition ability, temperament, or interests. These and other challenges have the potential to connect a large number of Northwestern faculty and to address a guiding principle of the University – integrating learning and experience.
The Cognition group included faculty from McCormick, SESP, Weinberg, Feinberg, Kellogg, School of Communication, and the School for Professional Studies. It was led by Sarah Bouchat from Political Science in Weinberg and David Uttal from Learning Sciences in SESP.
Computational Thinking, Design, and Learning (CTDL)
Computer Science and Education are becoming increasingly intertwined. Computer Science, for its part, faces enormous challenges in educating an explosively growing and increasingly diverse set of students. Education, on its side, needs to understand how computational thinking changes what and how students should be learning and how computational technology can help to scale quality education so that everyone, everywhere, can get a quality education. Northwestern is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in this critical nexus and to address a guiding principle of the University – integrating learning and experience.
The CTDL group included faculty from McCormick, Feinberg, Weinberg, Medill, SESP, and Pritzker and was led by Rosemary Braun from Preventive Medicine in Feinberg and Jason Hartline from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in McCormick.
Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is one of the UN Sustainable Developmental Goals. However, currently, “1 in 9 people lack access to safe water; 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet” (water.org). By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions. The solution to this impending catastrophe will require significant progress in engineering, communications, and policy making as well as collaboration between a multitude of governmental and non-governmental institutions. These challenges have the potential to connect a large number of Northwestern faculty and to address guiding principles of the University — engaging with the world and discovering innovative solutions.
The Water group included faculty from Weinberg, McCormick, Pritzker, and Feinberg and was led by Sera Young from Anthropology in Weinberg and Neelesh Patankar from Mechanical Engineering in McCormick.