The Politics of Interdisciplinary Studies

Essays on Transformations in American Undergraduate Programs


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About the Book

This collection of essays first highlights the popularity of interdisciplinary undergraduate studies and their recent gains in the world of higher education, and then addresses the paradoxical failure of these studies to achieve a permanent position in the curricula of individual universities and colleges. This question and its attendant issues are explored in three ways: (1) an overview of how these changes are affected by the political economy, (2) case studies from actual universities and colleges, and (3) a discussion of the sustainability of undergraduate interdisciplinary studies programs.

About the Author(s)

Tanya Augsburg is an assistant professor of liberal studies (creative arts and humanities) at San Francisco State University. She is an executive board member of the Association for Integrative Studies.
Stuart Henry is a professor and the director of the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University. Previously he served seven years at Wayne State University as chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. He is a member of the executive board of the Association for Integrative Studies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Tanya Augsburg and Stuart Henry
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 288
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4168-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5435-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface—Tanya Augsburg and Stuart Henry      1

Introduction—Tanya Augsburg and Stuart Henry      7

PART I. The History of Interdisciplinary Programs

1. The Political Life Cycle of a Cluster College: The Western College Program at Miami University—William H. Newell      29

2. The Devolution of the Individualized Degree at the University Without Walls/University of Massachusetts–Amherst—Rick F. Hendra      51

3. To Educate the People: The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Wayne State University—Andre Furtado, Linda Lora Hulbert, Julie Thompson Klein, Lisa Maruca, Caroline Maun, Daphne W. Ntiri and Roslyn Abt Schindler      66

4. Phoenix: From Ashes to Reincarnation at Appalachian State University—Jay Wentworth and Richard M. Carp      85

5. From Cutting Edge to Cutting Board: The Inter-Arts Center at San Francisco State University—James W. Davis      102

6. Interdisciplinary Studies at San Francisco State University: A Personal Perspective—Raymond C. Miller      112

PART II. New Directions

7. Interdisciplinarity and Teacher Preparation at San Francisco State University—Helen Goldsmith      133

8. Transforming an Experimental Innovation into a Sustainable Academic Program at the University of Texas–Arlington—Allen F. Repko      144

9. Interdisciplinarity Within Emory University’s Academic Community—Peter W. Wakefield      163

10. Turning Points: New Century College at George Mason University—Janette Kenner Muir      177

11. Barriers and Solutions to Launching an Interdisciplinary Movement: The University of Massachusetts–Lowell—Diana C. Archibald      195

12. A Canadian and Collaborative Perspective: The Office of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alberta—Rick Szostak      212

Conclusion—Tanya Augsburg, Stuart Henry, William H. Newell and Rick Szostak      227

Chapter 3 Appendices      257

Chapter 11 Appendix      262

About the Contributors      269

Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

“intriguing book…this book provides a valuable historical perspective on interdisciplinary programs”—Integrative Pathways.