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Fueling the Tank

Collaboration thrives in interdisciplinary learning communities 

Think Tanks are thriving at Elizabethtown. These interdisciplinary learning communities bring together faculty and staff members and students with shared interests. Two Think Tanks began their work during the 2013-2014 academic year. The teams collaborated to design and implement projects and share their findings. 

The Think Tank met frequently to discuss the research outcomes and chart the course for outreach. Pictured here: Dr. Peggy McFarland and Dr. Cristina Ciocirlan and students Molly MacGray, Katharine Stull, Kim Welker – all OT, Rebecca Bowman – social work, and Danielle Cockey – business.

The Think Tank approach to learning offers students the opportunity to experience enriched learning across a variety of disciplines and has been fine-tuned during the first two years of the College’s five-year Strategic Plan. The Children and Families Think Tank (CFTT) came alive through the combined expertise of faculty members who work with local agencies and businesses that serve an aging population and children with special needs. Led by Dr. Cristina Ciocirlan (Business) and Dr. Peggy McFarland and Dr. Judy Ericksen (Social Work), along with students—occupational therapy, social work, education and business majors—the CFTT set out to find an organization that would benefit from the Think Tank’s combined expertise.

First, students designed and administered a survey, which was intended to identify potential organizations with which they could partner. Then, using the results, the CFTT began their work to select a partner organization whose needs aligned with the team’s capacity to address their needs. With the start of the 2014-2015 academic year the CFTT expects to select the two organizations with which they will work. Students will be assigned and supervised by faculty members and the work to provide services to the organizations will begin. 

Participants are learning how collaborative efforts pay dividends in rich, real-world learning experiences all while providing an important service to the community.

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Our students received about $26.2 million in institutional scholarships and grants during the 2010-2011 academic year.
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