Interdisciplinary Studies Prepares Students for Outside World The Best


How much has education changed over years? Education has been altered for students to give them easier access to all sorts of information, as well as sharing of the information with others. With the help of scholars and IT technician’s students are able to submit their work virtually and teachers can get back to them almost instantly. Articles, textbooks, and most of the books are available online. Many different fields have to come together to make education what it is today possible. The interdisciplinary is becoming an obvious key for solution of most complex problems. The interdisciplinary way of thinking allows students to evaluate the problems from the vision of many different disciplines. It allows students to find their passion in many different fields instead of concentrating in one filed only.  It opens up the door to opportunities across the fields instead of one. The article by William H. Newell, Education for Complex World: Integrative Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies  talks about the importance of interdisciplinary knowledge and explains further advantages, challenges and process of Interdisciplinary Studies and Integrative Learning within higher education.×857.jpg

It is not a secret that within the higher education world is becoming more complex with every year. After graduating students will face lives in the world that is even more complex than in a classroom. Two speakers from American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Association for Integrative Studies—aptly titled “Integrative Learning: both determined globalization as a drive for rising complexity. They argued to modify higher education in order to best prepare students to face the complex and globalized world.” The Greater Expectations National Panel believe that Interdisciplinary Studies and Integrative Learning are the most effective ways of education for a complex world.

In the 1960s, Interdisciplinary Studies was used as a “term for any curricular approach that was not narrowly disciplinary” (Newell).  Forty years later, Interdisciplinary Studies has shifted, focusing more on determining Interdisciplinary process, to precisely match student’s understanding of complex situations. First version of Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum: states similar to Integrative learning “interdisciplinary studies may be defined as a process of answering a question, solving a problem, or addressing a topic that is too broad or complex to be dealt with adequately by a single discipline or profession . . . [It] draws on disciplinary perspectives and integrates their insights through construction of a more comprehensive perspective” (Newell). William Newell believes that Interdisciplinary Studies and Integrative learning should be preceded as synonyms to best prepare students. Imagine several disciplinary groups looking at some complex situation from their own ivory tower, when disciplines are positioned outside of the circle and review the problem from many different angles they still naturally arrive to a different understanding. However, interdisciplinarians with the knowledge from different disciplines look at the situation as a whole. To understand the complex problem fully it takes both interdisciplinary and an integrative approach. An Integrative learning approach teaches students more about such situations. It gives them knowledge above of what others learn from singular disciplines. Creating the methods that maximize effectiveness of the programs, relies upon rethinking of curriculum and pedagogy by faculty.

When created, Integrative learning and Interdisciplinary Studies educators faced many similar challenges. Several theories of Interdisciplinary Studies have emerged to explain the process of Interdisciplinary. The most popular theory was created by Allen Repko. Redefinition, extension, organi­zation, and transformation those are four of the techniques identified by Repko to create a common ground in Interdisciplinary.

This is the link to explore Repko’s theory ten-part of Interdisciplinary presses further.

A clear concept of the courses that visibly prepare Interdisciplinary Studies students for complex decision making is the best asset against those who try to criticize and believe that Interdisciplinary courses are not the most important for the institutions goals. It also answers to those who question, why we have to require peculiar concept for Interdisciplinary Studies. By showing students relevancy of education to a real life scenario, Integrative and interdisciplinary exercises are valuable for student’s motivation and their future. The best undergraduate education is achieved by combining disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses. As we all know Interdisciplinary would not exist without concentrated disciplines. Furthermore, Newell believes that it is best for students to shuffle back and forth from classrooms to the outside world. Students can only achieve their full potential if they believe and value diversity of perspective, which requires integration of insights and promotes holistic thinking. In result student are prepared to face complex challenges that they will come across in the outside world.

I can fully admit that my experience in my IDS Intro class has already affected my thinking noticeably. I began to see interdisciplinarity in everything around me. I can now tell and pick out which other disciplines would benefit my program. Because of the IDS program at Plymouth State University I am able to pursuit my passion in Holistic Health Promotion for Athletes. My idea is to bring a holistic approach in athletes preparation, to get them in to the best shape mentally and physically. In the past three years as a student I did not have the same assurance as I have now in what I wanted to do after graduation. My program will allow me to bring interdisciplinary thinking to combine coaching with management of athletes wellbeing. In Interdisciplinarity I saw a clearer path which I am excited to take. I am motivated and am planning on continuing my education beyond my undergraduate degree. I will gladly motivate any student in to considering becoming an interidsciplinatian. Afler talking to my friends about my program, she decided to build a program that is very similar to mine. As a product of Interdisciplinary education, I truly believe and agree with the article by Newell,  Education for Complex World: Integrative Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies that Interdisciplinary learning is truly the way to go to prepare students for today’s world.







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3 thoughts on “Interdisciplinary Studies Prepares Students for Outside World The Best”

  1. I love this post. Bill Newell and Alan Repko had a very large influence on our PSU curriculum (Bill was here a few years ago assessing our program, in fact). You do a great job presenting their basic framing lens, and then pointing that lens at your own program. As usual, I am always impressed at your English (I don’t even know the history of your language speaking– is your native language Georgian? we should talk about where you grew up and when you learned English…remind me!), but we may also edit this together once to tidy up some of the issues (just the persistent things like articles “Prepares Students for THE Outside World) because I would like to include this piece in our IDS textbook. Great summary here of basic ideas that are helpful to all of our IDS students!

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