Perfect Match

Alen Hadzovic speaks to a class

Science and art come together through interdisciplinary workshops

Alen Hadzovic has won an award for watching paint dry, sort of.

An assistant professor in UTSC’s Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, Hadzovic is one of three recipients of U of T’s Early Career Teaching Award. The award is given annually to faculty members who show exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation.

Hadzovic has developed online interactive teaching materials for inorganic chemistry courses. Equally exciting is his work in cross- disciplinary and extracurricular learning, through a seminar he co-created with Erin Webster from the Department of Arts, Culture & Media.

The seminar, called the Technical Art History Workshop, brings chemistry and art history students together to see what happens to paint as it ages. They also gain an appreciation of different art forms and of the techniques involved in art history.

“It’s another good example of how bringing different fields together in order to learn from each other can be productive,” Hadzovic says.

Creating cross-disciplinary opportunities has always been important to him. In the past he’s teamed up with Barry Freeman, from Theatre & Performance Studies, on WIDEN UTSC. They created a forum where members of the university community could share their perspectives across disciplines on a series of topics.

Hadzovic has also partnered with faculty from Historical & Cultural Studies on various projects and hopes to partner with the Department of English in the near future.

“An interdisciplinary education opens the door to new perspectives and different ways of thinking. That’s something I think we can all benefit from,” he says. “At the end of the day I believe it creates better professionals.”

For Hadzovic, it’s all part of belonging to a campus community that prides itself on academic excellence.

“We have great teachers and researchers, and I think we’re uniquely positioned to help our students become leaders and professionals that can make a difference in the world.”