To the Editor:
I’d like to thank Joseph Piro for bringing to light the STEAM acronym—an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education—and explaining its value to the wider public (“Going From STEM to STEAM,” Commentary, March 10, 2010).
My institution, the Salvadori Center, has been using STEAM as a descriptor for the past few years (though our A represents architecture), since we saw the value in integrating art, architecture, and aesthetics into the STEM curricula. In fact, we’ve used architecture as an entry to structural and civil engineering, and vice versa, for over 25 years.
Like Mr. Piro, I believe that at a time when schools continue to cut arts programming while also offering inferior science education and, sadly, almost no engineering, it would serve us well to view these disciplines as complementary. Not only will instruction be enhanced if we once and for all use an interdisciplinary model that allows students to examine real-world problems from multiple vantage points, but we also will create a group of well-rounded, thoughtful citizens who can then choose to enhance the world via science, technology, engineering, math, or the arts.
Or, better yet, perhaps they will draw their creative and analytic inspiration from all of these fields.
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the April 21, 2010 edition of Education Week as STEAM Acronym Includes the Sources of Creativity