STEAM: Don’t Forget The Arts!

We’re familiar with STEM now: science, technology, engineering and math. We know STEM is the future of the marketplace, and there’s a growing movement, complete with a whole coalition to raise awareness and take action for education in these subjects. It is vital that we keep the STEM movement in the forefront if we want to continue to be leaders in the economic, business and technological world. Most of us know by now the value and necessity of STEM for ourselves and future generations.

But what about STEAM? That “A” stands for arts, and we’re finding out that it’s just as important to continue education in arts to better apply the other areas to humanity. A new topic of discussion is how universities can teach and prepare our scientists, technologists and engineering with the art to better serve society and help solve its social problems. We know STEM is the future, but by applying it to societal issues, we’ll continue to move forward in society as a whole. Integrating arts and humanities into STEM education opens up opportunity to use responsibility, ethics, morals and values when faced with tough decisions on how to use new STEM innovations. 

You’ve seen it before with cloning, vaccines and self-driving cars to name a few. Scientists and engineers invent new technologies or find answers to solve problems, but when it comes to action, it gets sticky. There will always be debate on whether to use an innovation because it always comes down us. Putting the new invention into action takes it from just a technology to a technology involving lives. A new topic of discussion is by practicing application of humanities subjects like ethics, morals and values in an educational context, scientist and engineers can better prepare for real-world situations.

Liberal arts has been labeled as a “wasted” education in our business-forward society, but many people are speaking up to remind everyone of it’s importance to incite ethical and moral thinking into STEM subjects. Others see value in art’s role in STEM as a creative boost, inspiring out-of-the-box thinking. Whatever the belief in importance of arts to STEM, it seems that gaining a full, well-rounded education may be the right answer to our woes of what subjects are the most important.