Vignette 5 The getting of interdisciplinarity: The everyday practice of environmental curriculum design
Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities
ISBN: 978-0-85724-371-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-372-0
Publication date: 8 November 2010
The environment poses many ‘wicked problems’ that cannot be addressed from a single disciplinary perspective. In a research-oriented university, it is a challenge to overcome discipline boundaries to create different pathways for thinking and teaching about the environment. This vignette reflects on two strands, performance and academic culture, in what is necessarily a complex system involving the development and implementation of a new interdisciplinary subject. While we imagined what the learning process was for the students, what evolved was a mutual process of rethinking expectations about how to collaboratively learn as an academic team. This chapter examines three learning tasks prescribed for students as examples of how we came to understand the difficult nature of our engagement, and to reflect on what happened in the initial semester of the subject. Emergent from our reflections is the need for a culture of interdisciplinarity, and suggestions for how to more effectively support the kind of learning practices that will inform our understanding of complex systems as citizens and scholars.
Beilin, R. and Bender, H. (2010), "Vignette 5 The getting of interdisciplinarity: The everyday practice of environmental curriculum design", 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, Bingley, pp. 181-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2010)0000005013
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