Integrated Learning and Research across Disciplinary Boundaries: Engaging Students

By Gilbert, Lucia Albino; Schilt, Paige E. et al. | Liberal Education, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Integrated Learning and Research across Disciplinary Boundaries: Engaging Students


Gilbert, Lucia Albino, Schilt, Paige E., Ekland-Olson, Sheldon, Liberal Education


AS CAMPUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY explore ways to strengthen interdisciplinary studies and involve undergraduates in research, questions emerge about how best to integrate existing course offerings and majors, develop curricular rigor and agility, and strengthen administrative coordination. The structural obstacles to crossing disciplinary boundaries and integrating the curriculum are real, but they often cloud the larger conceptual task or vision that must come first. In Integrative Learning: Mapping the Terrain, Mary Taylor Huber and Pat Hutchings (2004, 1) note that while "many colleges and universities are creating opportunities for more integrative, connected learning," often such innovations "exist in isolation, disconnected from other parts of the curriculum and from other reform efforts." In addition, the programs that are implemented typically have their own faculty and staff advocates who act independently of the university's central priorities for undergraduate education (Schoem 2002).

In this article, we discuss two successful initiatives to integrate interdisciplinary study and participation in research into the core mission of undergraduate education at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. The first of these, the Forum Seminars, introduces students to specific cross-disciplinary topics and faculty in these areas. The second, the Bridging Disciplines Programs (BDP), takes students a step further by using the forum seminar as a foundation course for an eighteen-to twenty-four hour interdisciplinary certificate program that complements the student's major and is built around general education requirements, electives, and research.

The vision for these initiatives emanates from the university's identity as a large and diverse research institution and its desire to provide the majority of its students with the kinds of unique educational opportunities that have typically been reserved for honors students. Our goals were two-tiered: first, we wanted to develop programs that weave research and cross-disciplinary perspectives into the fabric of students' undergraduate education, and second, in doing so, we wanted to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of these programs by building on the existing faculty research strengths and course offerings. Before describing these programs in more detail, we first identify the key factors or guiding principles that we believe are central to the success of the initiatives.

Build on existing resources. UT Austin serves the largest undergraduate student body in the nation, with baccalaureate degrees in eleven schools and colleges and more than 130 majors. With ten thousand courses offered each semester, UT Austin provides immense resources for learning, and particularly learning across disciplines. It also has a large and diverse faculty involved in a broad array of research endeavors and interdisciplinary collaborations. However, it is this immensity of choice that makes it difficult for students to take full advantage of those resources on their own.

In order to capitalize on the size and scope of the curriculum, UT Austin needed to offer students some navigational tools. Rather than create numerous new courses, we conceptualized a set of roadmaps through UT's already rich curriculum. These routes were designed to help students construct meaningful intellectual narratives for connecting their coursework across disciplines and to research throughout the years of their undergraduate experience.

Make research and creative innovation central. Although a small number of students have traditionally found research placements through informal channels, we recognized the need to create more accessible and transparent paths to undergraduate participation in research. While such paths did not have much precedent at the university, the process of obtaining "buy-in" from the schools and colleges was made easier by the fact that research is so central to the university's identity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Integrated Learning and Research across Disciplinary Boundaries: Engaging Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.