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Interdisciplinarity

Each GCSP should have an institutionally tailored mechanism that thematically draws together the engineering curricular components of each student’s course of study.–NAE

UMBC houses one of the oldest continuously operating Interdisciplinary Studies undergraduate degree programs in the country, recognized in its most recent (INDS) Academic Program Review as a model of its kind (“There is, arguably, no institution in the country better able to activate the potential of interdisciplinary and individualized undergraduate education than UMBC”). Further evidence for the quality of this resource comes in the form of an invitation to host the 39th Annual Conference of the International Association of Interdisciplinary Studies (IAIS) in 2017. The core curriculum of UMBC’s INDS program teaches students to recognize, articulate, and implement the scholarship of interdisciplinarity (SOI) using nationally recognized textbooks and peer-reviewed publications, complemented by co-curricular scaffolding and coaching to guide students through the metacognitive challenges of designing a coherent, individualized, interdisciplinary degree and capstone research project.

The GCSP will leverage this campus resource and experience to provide support for the GCSP Interdisciplinarity program element. The GCSP Orientation Seminar will incorporate key material from the foundational SOI course (INDS330, “Ways of Knowing”), and the GCSP Program Seminar will be modeled after the Interdisciplinary Degree Plan Writing Seminar. The INDS Program Director is a GCSP Advisory Board member, and has committed the full support of his unit and staff to support the GCSP in interdisciplinary content, pedagogy, and training. The INDS program will also showcase the work of the GSCP at the international IAIS conference in October 2017.

UMBC’s General Education requirements are designed to ensure a broad liberal arts foundation for students in all majors. Many of the courses that satisfy the Gen Ed requirements can also be used in their Interdisciplinarity program element, with appropriate advance planning. Information sessions for GCSP Affiliates will focus on how students can plan intentionally to select courses that are aligned with the GCSP requirements.

Learning Objectives

The three Interdisciplinarity core learning objectives emphasize the ability to analyze and synthesize contributions from multiple disciplines to solve complex problems.

  • Identify the different disciplines that contribute to the solution of a complex problem.
  • Describe and identify strategies for creating common ground between different disciplinary perspectives.
  • Describe and apply bridging strategies that facilitate the conscious integration of different disciplines.

For details about gold/silver/bronze experiences, visit the Learning Experiences page.