Questions That Arise from Interdisciplinarity

When I personally think of interdisciplinarity I think of all the ways it has improved my higher education. For others, questions arise,  Shannon K. McCoy and Susan K. Gardner to be exact think of some questions. Their article is called Interdisciplinary Collaboration on Campus – Five Questions. These authors have thought about five different questions when it comes to interdisciplinary collaboration on campuses. The five questions stated are, “Do you have enough time?, Do you have the right people?, Do you have the right departments?, Do you have the right policies?, and Do you have sufficient resources?”

CC By: Stefan Baudy

Questions like these make the reader think about all the times they have used collaboration in the interdisciplinary field and think about if they met these five questions or not. Having enough time, something not many people think about when starting a collaboration. “Creating such a synthesis takes a lot of time – time to understand other modes of research, time to learn the language and jargon used in other field(s), and the time it takes simply to collaborate with another individual or individuals” (McCoy & Gardner, page 46). Making sure to have enough time is key to a successful interdisciplinary collaboration. The next question is about having the right people, the authors state “Interdisciplinarity…holds the most promise for institutions that are most resource strapped, but those institutions may also be ones that demand a lot of time from faculty for teaching, administrative work, and service” (McCoy & Gardner, page 46). Not every one is cut out to do interdisciplinary work, making sure everyone in your group is suited for the job is another key to success. “Departmental support of interdisciplinary work is key to successful collaborations” (McCoy & Gardner, page 47). This quote proves that when everyone is on board and finds the right department to help collaborate with is a part of the ladder that leads to success. The final two questions to me, seem to coincide with each other. Finding the right policies, and having enough resources go hand in hand.  Without the right policies the resources needed can vary.

CC By: Vanessa Miemis

After reading this engaging article, I have come to realize that I need to be thinking about these five questions when collaborating through interdisciplinarity. For all those in such a field, it is important to have successful collaboration, with these five questions being met it leaves little room for failure.

Works Cited: McCoy, S. K., & Gardner, S. K. (2012, November/December). Interdisciplinary Collaboration on Campus: Five Questions. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from doi:10.1080/00091383.2012.728953

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One thought on “Questions That Arise from Interdisciplinarity”

  1. This is a great choice, and I think these framing questions will be helpful to my colleagues as PSU moves toward more interdisciplinary programs, and this might even be a good article to include in the intro curriculum, so thanks for drawing my attention to it!

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