Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 21 (2003)

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    Apollo Meets Dionysius: Interdisciplinarity in Long-Standing Interdisciplinary Programs
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Stuart Henry
    At the invitation of the AIS Board of Directors, representatives of several long-standing interdisciplinary programs gathered on October 9, 2003, to participate in back-to-back panel discussions at the 25th AIS conference. Following months of email exchanges prior to the conference, the panel moved quickly into an exploration of the common issues faced by such programs. Many, the panel discovered, can be examined fruitfully by extending Nietzsche’s distinction between the Apollonian and Dionysian, applied by him to tragedy, to an overview of experimental, interdisciplinary programs. In the panel discussion, it became apparent that this distinction could serve as a useful metaphorical lens through which to view many of the tensions that shaped the structures and practices of the programs represented. Since those structures and practices, in turn, influenced how faculty members and students each came to understand the interdisciplinary approach to education common to these programs, the panelists came to appreciate that the insights gained from viewing interdisciplinary education as an outcome of Apollonian-Dionysian tension are of more than passing or parochial interest.
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    Interdisciplinary Writing Assessment Profiles
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    Relying upon current interdisciplinary theories, this article offers a newly created method for assessing interdisciplinary thinking, the Interdisciplinary Writing Assessment Profiles. The Profiles is a scoring rubric for the assessment of substantive undergraduate, expository, research-based interdisciplinary writing assignments, such as a senior thesis or major term paper. In this instrument, four dimensions of interdisciplinary writing are assessed: (1) drawing on disciplinary sources, (2) critical argumentation, (3) multidisciplinary perspectives, and (4) interdisciplinary integration. The first two dimensions focus primarily on elements that should occur in disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary expository writing. The final two dimensions are more pointedly focused on interdisciplinary writing. The instrument was developed and field-tested with disciplinary senior theses from the University Honors Program and interdisciplinary senior projects from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University in Ohio. The article discusses the reliability and validity of the scoring procedures, offers some findings about how disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects compared in terms of the scoring, and provides concrete guidance on how to make specific scoring decisions.
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    Future Directions for Interdisciplinary Effectiveness in Higher Education: A Delphi Study
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    This article discusses the findings of an empirical interdisciplinary research project the researcher conducted as the exit module for the completion of a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas State University. It is the culmination of a year and a half study which applied scientific research methods to establish key ideas on the future development of interdisciplinary studies programs. Specifically, the study addressed the question, “What changes in interdisciplinary studies programs need to take place over the next decade in order to better serve the needs of students whose academic goals are not adequately addressed by traditional discipline-based programs?” The study explored five areas of inquiry: curriculum, teaching, faculty development, administration, and program delivery. Each area of inquiry produced consensus on several ideas. This paper reports the results of the study and discusses its implications.
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    Liberal Education and Integrative Learning
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    Abstract: This paper presents an argument about new and needed connections between liberal education and integrative learning in the twenty-first century. Integrative learning, I propose, can and should become a primary catalyst—perhaps even THE primary catalyst—fueling a new vigor, vitality, and social value in a contemporary liberal education.
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    Plagiarism and Its (Disciplinary) Discontents: Towards and Interdisciplinary Theory and Pedagogy
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    Despite the abundance of literature on the topic, there is very little that can be called “common” about our common sense understanding of plagiarism. Taking a closer look at the history, rhetorical uses, and cultural practices of plagiarism, this essay reveals that this concept is multiple and heterogeneous, riddled with contradictions and blind spots. As a result, the article argues the overlapping, inter-related, yet distinct discourses of plagiarism that circulate within the academy can be usefully described as a “complex system.” In positing plagiarism as a complex system, this article has several goals. First, it shows how singular approaches to plagiarism are ultimately insufficient and examines the ways in which an interdisciplinary consideration of the issues can shed light on the problem. Next, it uses the issue of plagiarism to examine the rubric of “complexity” itself, suggesting ways that recent uses of the term within interdisciplinary research might be modified and extended. Finally, it uses this enhanced, integrative understanding of plagiarism to make pragmatic proposals for both pedagogy and policy.
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    Cognitive Integration in Transdisciplinary Science:  Knowledge as a Key Notion
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    We argue for an understanding of transdisciplinary modes of scientific knowledge production that rests on assumptions regarding the specific tasks and challenges for a “problem-solving” or “action-oriented” science. A comprehensive model of analytical tasks in scientific knowledge production is put forward comprising: (1) the production of systemic knowledge; (2) the assessment of systemic properties; (3) the analysis of systems of goals, goods, and values; and (4) the assessment of actions. It is part of our understanding of transdisciplinarity that, although classical disciplinary knowledge production usually addresses only one of these tasks at a time, transdisciplinary knowledge production usually aims at addressing several or all of them simultaneously. It is this ambition that generates the needs for integrative processes in transdisciplinary projects. After introducing a distinction between cognitive and social integration, we argue for our claim that at least cognitive integrational tasks, and the objects of resulting synthesis in research and higher education, can be mapped onto a matrix of these analytical tasks. Further, we argue that such a mapping allows for more targeted and more specific formulations of the integrational tasks. On the basis of a substantial concept of knowledge, we then lay out and discuss three areas of cognitive integrative processes in transdisciplinary science: (1) the four domains of scientific analysis, (2) disciplinary divisions of labor within domains of analysis, and (3) heterogeneous (scientific as well as non-scientific) expertise.
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    Becoming  Interdisciplinary: The Student Portfolio in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Arizona State University
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2003) Schindler, Roslyn Abt; Henry, Stuart
    This paper serves as a case study on the use of student portfolios at a large undergraduate interdisciplinary program at Arizona State University. The paper addresses the follOwing question: How can student portfolios improve student learning, IDS teaching, and IDS curriculum assessment? The history of the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program, its features, its partnership with ASU Career Services, and the process of student portfolio implementation into its curriculum are reviewed in order to demonstrate how the BIS program student portfolio requirement has contributed to the program’s success as an undergraduate interdisciplinary studies degree program.