Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities

Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing (2010)

Authors
W. Martin Davies
University of Melbourne
Abstract
In an age of pressing global issues such as climate change, the necessity for countries to work together to resolve problems affecting multiple nations has never been more important. Interdisciplinarity in higher education is a key to meeting these challenges. Universities need to produce graduates, and leaders, who understand issues from different perspectives, and who can communicate with others outside the confines of their own disciplines. Drawing on contributions from 37 scholars from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, this volume examines issues inherent in providing interdisciplinary education within the structures of universities and proposes ways in which these issues might be best managed. The book has a dual focus on perspectives and practicalities. Themes covered include: the need for graduates who can work within and across multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams; interdisciplinary leadership; the critical importance of interdisciplinary thinking to meet global challenges; collaboration in interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning; the role of institutional and other systems to support interdisciplinary endeavours; the centrality of disciplines; balancing disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity; and the place of interdisciplinarity in graduate outcomes and attributes. Definitional aspects of interdisciplinary higher education and current interdisciplinary practice across a range of contexts are also examined. Contributors represent a wide range of discipline areas, including accounting, academic development, agriculture, food and wine science, biotechnology, employment relations, environmental science, the health sciences, higher education, land and environment, languages and cultures, occupational therapy, science communication, social work and social policy.
Keywords interdisciplinary higher education  philosophy of education
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