idweb banner

Collegiate Interdisciplinary Education

Collegiate Education Study

Our study of collegiate education examined the challenges, motivations, and approaches to quality interdisciplinary education as perceived by faculty, administrators, and students in established interdisciplinary programs nation-wide. Our sample included programs such as Stanford's Human Biology, Swarthmore's Interpretation Theory, University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, and NEXA at San Francisco State University.

A combination of semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of course designs and student work shed empirical light on issues such as: (1) How faculty and students view the nature and purpose of interdisciplinary teaching and the learning challenges it presents. (2) Effective strategies that faculty and program architects employ to integrate disciplinary perspectives in the classroom and the curriculum. (3) Assessment of student interdisciplinary work, its challenges and a proposed framework.
This study yielded preliminary parameters for a pedagogy for interdisciplinary understanding as well as the “targeted assessment model” and preliminary rubric to examine and support students interdisciplinary work. 

Interdisciplinary Learning Assessment Rubric - in collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Haynes and Dr. Christopher Wolf (completed)

This study involved the adaptation and construct validity testing of a rubric for interdisciplinary writing. The rubric was tested against a sample of eighty student papers stratified by year (freshmen/sophomore vs. senior) and program (disciplinary vs. interdisciplinary majors) at Miami University in Ohio.

Thinking like an Educator: Toward an Assessment Model for Graduate Work in Education - in collaboration with Dr. Robert Kegan and Dr. Catherine Snow (completed)

This study examined the learning challenges and opportunities experienced by first year doctoral students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Students were invited to integrate the perspectives of psychologists, linguists, sociologists, policymakers, organizational theorists and practitioners in education in a case-based instructional approach. Analysis of semi-structured interviews with students and faculty, a performance task and classroom observation yielded key learning challenges and an assessment model that complements disciplinary and local knowledge experts in educational practice.    

Assessing Interdisciplinary Understanding in Learning Communities
- in collaboration with the Washington Center for the Advancement of Undergraduate Education (completed)
In this project we developed a collaborative assessment protocol that was applied, adapted and qualitatively tested by a network of learning communities in twenty six colleges nation-wide. Paired with an ongoing practice of collaborative assessment of student work, the protocol gave structure and focus to faculty discussions, contributed to the sustenance of the learning community and yielded a new generation of assignments designed to foster the integration of disciplinary perspectives among students in the network. 

See also our related publications for the collegiate ID education projects