Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures: A Model for Strength and Sustainability

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Praise for Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures

"Klein's analysis shows convincingly that from research in the sciences to new graduate-level programs and departments, to new designs for general education, interdisciplinarity is now prevalent throughout American colleges and universities. . . . Klein documents trends, traces historical patterns and precedents, and provides practical advice. Going directly to the heart of our institutional realities, she focuses attention on some of the more challenging aspects of bringing together ambitious goals for interdisciplinary vitality with institutional, budgetary, and governance systems. A singular strength of this book, then, is the practical advice it provides about such nitty-gritty issues as program review, faculty development, tenure and promotion, hiring, and the political economy of interdisciplinarity. . . . We know that readers everywhere will find [this book] simultaneously richly illuminating and intensively useful."
—from the foreword by Carol Geary Schneider, president, Association of American Colleges and Universities

"Klein reveals how universities can move beyond glib rhetoric about being interdisciplinary toward pervasive full interdisciplinarity. Institutions that heed her call for restructured intellectual environments are most likely to thrive in the new millennium."
—William H. Newell, professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University, and executive director, Association for Integrative Studies

"In true interdisciplinary fashion, Julie Klein integrates a tremendous amount of material into this book to tell the story of interdisciplinarity across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. And she does so both from the theoretical perspective of 'understanding' interdisciplinarity and from the practical vantage of 'doing' interdisciplinarity. This book is a must-read for faculty and administrators thinking about how to maximize the opportunities and minimize the challenges of interdisciplinary programming on their campuses."
—Diana Rhoten, director, Knowledge Institutions Program, and director, Digital Media and Learning Project, Social Science Research Counsel

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From the Inside Flap:

Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures

"Interdisciplinarity" has become a mantra for change in higher education and is embodied in a rich variety of forms and practices that challenge how we think about knowledge, research, and education. Yet, despite widespread desire for change on campuses, proponents are often uncertain about how to go about planning, implementing, and sustaining interdisciplinary programs and projects.

Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures offers administrators, faculty, and planning groups a primer for interdisciplinary change with a portfolio of practical, concrete strategies for actualizing this change. These proven techniques are anchored in a conceptual framework that unites insights from organizational theory, higher education studies, and the literature on interdisciplinarity.

Creating campus cultures that enable rather than impede interdisciplinary work and thought requires a systematic approach to identifying current activities and interests, leveraging existing resources, benchmarking best practices, building capacity and critical mass, targeting strategic initiatives alongside generally loosening barriers, and creating a platform for higher levels of strength and sustainability. Topics also include criteria of program review, the interdisciplinary career lifecycle, and endowment building. These strategies are not meant as one-size-fits-all prescriptions for every campus or as universal formulas or sets of rules, but rather provide informed awareness of nationwide developments and lessons of theory and practice that will improve local decision making and implementation.

Sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures is an essential resource aimed at developing and maintaining institutional support for interdisciplinary work and giving campuses the tools needed to ensure that their work is successful and sustainable.

About the Author:

Julie Thompson Klein is a professor of humanities in English and interdisciplinary studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is past president of the Association for Integrative Studies (AIS) and former editor of the AIS journal, Issues in Integrative Studies. Klein consults widely both nationally and internationally and is the author and editor of many books, including Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice; Crossing Boundaries; and Humanities, Culture, and Interdisciplinarity. She is also associate editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Interdisciplinarity.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Founded in 1915 by college presidents, AAC&U now represents the entire spectrum of American colleges and universities—large and small, public and private, two-year and four-year. AAC&U comprises more than 1,200 accredited colleges and universities that collectively educate more than seven million students every year.

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