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9 Toward New Interdisciplinary Structures
Pages 171-187

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From page 171...
... The nature of the structure in which IDR takes place -- which may be an actual or virtual space -- can help or hinder its progress. The hindrances created by some structures, discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, have prompted experiments designed to lower and even remove barriers and to facilitate IDR in other ways.
From page 172...
... The flow of ideas and people is made possible by institutional policies that govern faculty appointments and salary lines, faculty recruitment, responsibility for tenure and promotion decisions, allocations of indirect-cost returns on grants, development of new course and curricular materials, and so on. A VISION OF NEW INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES: THE MATRIX MODEL Many researchers want to pursue interdisciplinary work more actively, but what new structures can best support them?
From page 173...
... joint faculty appointments and PhDs granted in more than one department which would enable participants to address cross-cutting questions more easily. It might create numerous interdisciplinary courses for undergraduates, provide mentors who bridge the pertinent disciplines, and, equally important, offer faculty numerous opportunities for continuing education whereby they could add both depth and breadth of knowledge throughout their careers.
From page 174...
... Similarly, the new Olin College, recently founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, trains its incoming students simultaneously in all the engineering sciences; as students gain experience, they choose specific problems to focus on; in this case, the Olin Foundation has decided to pay all student tuition and to support the college itself for a specified period.
From page 175...
... aEvergreen State College home page. http://www.evergreen.edu.
From page 176...
... "This ap proach fosters a tremendously rich soup of interdisciplinary research and collabo ration," says Rockefeller Professor and Nobel laureate GŁnter Blobel.b aHollingsworth, R and Hollingsworth, C.T.
From page 177...
... Few voices, for example, have been raised in favor of INNOVATIVE PRACTICES BOX 9-4 Cross-Cutting Reorganization of Academic Departments Funding agencies can act as change agents, providing funding for programs to invigorate an emerging field of study or to establish new priorities for research universities. At least partly as a consequence of participating in an engineering research center (see Box 8-2)
From page 178...
... 178 FACILITATING INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH abolishing sound institutional management that is needed to organize, support, and legitimize research programs. Many voices have confirmed the importance of mastering a specific discipline in depth before investigating new disciplines.
From page 179...
... They can prepare to address such questions by seeking institutions that provide opportunities for IDR at the undergraduate level, have strong interdepartmental connections and interdisciplinary centers and programs, provide opportunities for cooperative experiences outside academe, and allow dual or multiple majors or majors and minors in different fields. Change at the Graduate Level Many institutions already admit graduate students to programs of study, some interdisciplinary, whose admissions criteria, degree requirements, and formation of graduate-study committees are administered through the programs themselves.
From page 180...
... The PoE is not a traditional academic department and does not have a faculty of its own. Instead, it plays a networking role, bringing together faculty and students from across the university to augment existing programs and to offer integrated, interdisciplinary programs that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.
From page 181...
... d Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition home page http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/.
From page 182...
... What we need to think about is establishing long-term organizational structures that allow for short-term intensive collaboration experiences. Diana Rhoten, Director, Hybrid Vigor Institute, and program officer, Social Science Research Council For example: ∑ A faculty member with a JD degree who is interested in international law might have an appointment in a program that focuses on global hunger or on global technology transfer; the person might spend a year in team teaching in that program and the next year in teaching a foundation course in law, such as civil procedures.
From page 183...
... The Clark Center is still in its early stages of operation, but hotel space is intended to stimulate collaboration by encouraging scientists and engineers in dis parate disciplines to work together. Visiting researchers may have a specific vision for collaborating with Clark Center researchers or other visiting researchers.
From page 184...
... In addition to designing infrastructure, the BIRN-CC is responsible for encouraging interactions among BIRN participants: the CC manages the BIRN Web site and newsletter and organizes an annual meeting to define collaborative needs and set research pri orities.c aBiomedical Informatics Research Network home page. http://www.nbirn.net.
From page 185...
... RECOMMENDATIONS U-1: Institutions should explore alternative administrative structures and business models that facilitate IDR across traditional organiza tional structures. For example, institutions can ∑ Experiment with alternative administrative structures, such as the matrix model, in which people move freely among disciplinary departments that are bridged and linked by interdisciplinary centers, offices, programs, and curricula or, alternatively, create institutions "without walls" that have no disciplinary departments and are organized around problems rather than disciplines.
From page 186...
... For example, institutions can ∑ Provide robust mechanisms for allocating faculty positions to areas of IDR. ∑ Provide cross-departmental mechanisms for tenure and promotion review.
From page 187...
... TOWARD NEW INTERDISCIPLINARY STRUCTURES 187 U-5: Continuing social science, humanities, and information-science based studies of the complex social and intellectual processes that make for successful IDR are needed to deepen the understanding of these processes and to enhance the prospects for the creation and manage ment of successful programs in specific fields and local institutions.


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