Interdisciplinary Seminars

Interdisciplinary seminars stimulate the creation of interdisciplinary discussions and collaborations particularly those with emphasis on the integration of knowledge. Seminars that include graduate or undergraduate students as well as participation from the non-academic community outside of Universities. Success is defined as growing attendance, publications, general visibility and other evidence of intellectual progress.

Interdisciplinary seminars approach higher education and learning through the following methods:

  • Integrate perspectives and problem solving tools from multiple disciplines.
  • Synthesize ideas from a variety of disciplines to create a unique approach to subject matter, allowing insights not possible through any one discipline alone.
  • Challenge teachers and students to integrate studies from outside of their primary discipline.
  • Creating advanced critical thinking through cognitive dissonance.

Interdisciplinary Seminar Benefits

Interdisciplinary seminars are capable of creating opportunities to synthesize knowledge across disciplines as well as developing a strong basis on which to build future research and work.  A high level of intellectual exchange and independent work can be expected as a result of this process.  An interdisciplinary seminar should empower people to evaluate and integrate many perspectives through collaborative projects that prepare them to be agents of change.

Interdisciplinary Seminar offers an integrative learning chance for learners to play an active role in exploration a critical question from multiple perspectives.  They will also develope a creative response techinques to solve questions, and the ablitiy to communicate that response effeciently and effectively. Interdisciplinary seminars should include a diversity in its group of scholars with backgrounds in a varitey of majors.  This will ensure an interdisciplinary lens with which seminar participants will define and research a central question. As participants in this seminar, students will integrate a variety of disciplinary perspectives to develop a multifaceted approach to answering a central question posed by the seminar.

Interdisciplinary Classifications

Over many years, scholars concerning themselves with interdisciplinary studies have made sustained efforts to create classifications for the relationships between disciplines. Their efforts have resulted in many books and articles which provide comprehensive views on interdisciplinary issues. Anyone who reads these works will come to realize that there are various definitions of interdisciplinary studies.

Considered predominant among these is the work of Erich Jantsch because of his sound framework for the justification of interdisciplinary knowledge. Jantsch proposes five categories classifing the organization of interrelations among the various disciplines.

  • Multidisciplinarity – a varitey of disciplines are offered simultaneously, but without making explicit possible relationships between them. This system is one level, multi-goal with no cooperation
  • Pluridisciplinarity – Various disciplines are juxtaposed, usually at the same hierarchical level, in such a way to enhance the relationships between them. Characterized by one level, multi-goal system with cooperation, but no coordination.
  • Cross-disciplinarity – The axiomatics of one disciplne is imposed upon other disciplines at the same hierarchical level. Systems represent one level, one goal; with rigid control from one disciplinary goal.
  • Interdisciplinarity – A common axiomatic for a group of related disciplines is defined at the next higher hierarchical level or sublevel, thereby introducing a sense of purpose, teleological interdisciplinarity acts between the empirical and pragmatic levels, normative interdisciplinary between pramatic and normative levels, purposive interdisciplinarity between the normative and purposive levels. Here you have two level, two goal systems with coordination from a higher level
  • Transdisciplinarity – All disciplines and interdisciplines in the educational/innovation systems are coordinated on the basis of a generalized axiomatics and an emerging epistemological patten. The multi-level system with multiple goals has coordination toward a common system purpose.

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