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Chapter 5 What kind of interdisciplinary space is academic development?

Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities

ISBN: 978-0-85724-371-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-372-0

Publication date: 8 November 2010


Formal programmes designed to develop university teaching and learning are often assumed to be spaces for interdisciplinary learning and exchange. Because such programmes bring together academics from a range of different disciplines to learn about university teaching and learning as an academic development activity, it would seem feasible to argue that these spaces for learning, and the learning which results from them, can be characterised as ‘interdisciplinary’. Academic development itself is often thought to be a project that fosters an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. This chapter offers a narrative of the way academic development programmes support academics to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to their learning about university teaching and learning. We take graduate certificate programmes in university teaching and learning as the vehicle for our analysis. In doing so, the chapter makes three points. First, that academic development has the potential to be a ‘critical interdisciplinary space’. Second, that it is important for academics to see and experience the Graduate Certificate as an opportunity to develop interdisciplinary learning outcomes. The evidence at present reveals that interdisciplinary learning outcomes for academics feature more as an absent-presence rather than as a conscious decision about curriculum design. Third, the curriculum of graduate certificate programmes needs to have a coherent and theorised account of interdisciplinary teaching and learning embedded in the philosophy and approach of the course.


Peseta, T., Manathunga, C. and Jones, A. (2010), "Chapter 5 What kind of interdisciplinary space is academic development?", Davies, M., Devlin, M. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 97-111.



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