Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 30 (2012)

Permanent URI for this collection

Browse

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Item
    Integrative Learning: A Grounded Theory
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    This article reports the findings from a study of undergraduate students in an academic program focused on integrative learning rather than interdisciplinarity. One aspect of this study included how students defined integrative learning. This participant-shaped understanding of integrative learning was broad and reflected a continuum of integration. The researcher labeled the four forms of integration in this continuum Application, Comparison, Understanding Context, and Synthesis. A developmental theory of how students become integrative learners emerged from the investigation. Students engaged in Application when they found course work personally relevant and meaningful; students performed Comparison when they learned to identify and evaluate multiple perspectives; students who evaluated competing claims or engaged conflicting viewpoints were Understanding Context. If conflict was reconciled, Synthesis was possible, but not achieved. Synthesis is the most complex form of integration and, although students agreed Synthesis is an ideal, they did not report examples of experiences that demonstrated this capacity. This article compares the learning outcomes of an academic program that privileges integrative learning with the outcomes of programs that are intentionally interdisciplinary.
  • Item
    Interdisciplinary Studies and the Question of Being
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    The question of being adds another dimension to interdisciplinary theory and practice. The interdisciplinary approach to complex problems requires engaging with multiple perspectives from various disciplines, schools of thought, ideologies, and belief systems. All of these perspectives possess underlying and often unacknowledged ontological assumptions. An exploration of ontological thought will enhance interdisciplinary understanding of diverse viewpoints. Of particular emphasis here is the relationship between consciousness and reality. This relationship is studied in multiple contexts over the history of Eastern and Western thought, evolutionary theory, and cognitive psychology. The nature of consciousness supplies a grounding for integrative practices. The strategy of ontological pluralism enhances the interdisciplinary technique of perspective taking.
  • Item
    Interdisciplinary Studies and the Real World: A Practical Rationale for and Guide to Postgraduation Evaluation and Assessment
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    This article is an outgrowth of the evaluation and assessment process in a large interdisciplinary studies (IDS) program at West Virginia University. We argue for the importance of collecting and assessing quantitative and qualitative data concerning learning outcomes, student satisfaction, career choice and development, and graduate education after students have graduated from an undergraduate IDS program. While there are difficulties inherent in developing an assessment instrument and gathering quality data, we contend that this process ultimately yields valuable insights that can improve student learning, teacher quality, and programmatic design. Moreover, a comprehensive postgraduate tool can provide evaluative data directly relevant to critics' demands for higher education to implement greater accountability measures and demonstrate programmatic achievement. To assist other IDS programs, this article includes a practical guide to navigating the difficulties in developing a postgraduation evaluation and assessment tool and carrying out a plan for collecting data on a large scale.
  • Item
    Interdisciplines and Interdisciplinarity: Political Psychology and Psychohistory Compared
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    Interdisciplines are specialties that connect ideas, methods, and findings from existing disciplines. Political psychology and psychohistory are interdisciplines which should have much in common, but even where they clearly intersect, their approaches usually diverge. Part of the reason for their dissimilarity lies in what each takes and rejects from the parent fields. Political psychology and psychohistory both select certain approaches from the array of contending discourses within their respective disciplines;they favor congenial outlooks and methods, while underplaying or ignoring other pertinent perspectives. This results in an incomplete exploration of their own subject matter and little interaction between them. Ideally, interdisciplines should involve a bidirectional exchange between the main trends in each specialty, but that is not always the case. Many scholars in these two specialties function within a conceptual comfort zone uninterested in some relevant bodies of research. Their insularity indicates that diverging viewpoints may exist in almost parallel intellectual universes. To illustrate these and other issues, I discuss definitions of each field, describe the parent disciplines and how political psychology and psychohistory relate to them, explore the methodology, accomplishments, and dilemmas of both interdisciplines, and, finally, evaluate the significance of these findings for disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies.
  • Item
    Building Students' Integrative Thinking Capacities: A Case Study in Economics and History
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    Having engaged in interdisciplinary team-teaching in both the two-course cluster format and the single course format, we intend to show how we helped students recognize and find their own integrative insights between the disciplines of history and economics. In the process we not only compare the advantages and disadvantages of each format but also illustrate more fully the differences between multidisciplinarity and true integration. We show (1) how the weaknesses and strengths of our two disciplines complement each other, (2) how the different goals of each discipline can be reached using the methods of the other, and (3) how appropriately-designed readings, writing assignments, group presentations, and other activities can help students to achieve the goals of integrative interdisciplinary pedagogy.
  • Item
    The Circulation of Knowledge as an Interdisciplinary Process: Travelling Concepts, Analogies, and Metaphor
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen
    In our society in which communication is so wide-ranging and rapid we are witnessing a significant increase in the pace at which knowledge is produced and disseminated. Bodies of knowledge intersect as they cross borders between disciplines in the human and social sciences, and in the natural sciences, life sciences, and technological sciences. How do concepts, theories, and methods circulate, and how are they exchanged, borrowed, transferred, and transformed, when they cross from one discipline to another? In what ways does this interdisciplinary practice constitute a creative gain in the production of new knowledge, enabling us to understand prob-lems that are impossible to solve from the perspective of a single discipline? The present article addresses these issues by defending the idea that, like other modi operandi, interdisciplinarity is promoted by the circulation of concepts, theories, and methods, and by analogy or transfer across and beyond disciplinary borders that appear closed. The article is also an appeal for ar-bitrary borders between communities of subject specialists to be transcended, for creative but rigorous thinking in all subject areas, and for researchers to adopt an interdisciplinary outlook.
  • Item
    Editors' Introduction
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2012) Newell, William H.; Schulz, Gretchen