Pedagogy, Approaches, and Applications
Approaches and Applications
Preparing students to work with and on multidisciplinary teams enhances their interpersonal skills sets, empathy, and marketability as future professionals and engaged citizens (Herremans, & Murch 2003; Lam, Kolomitro, & Alamparambil, 2011). Being able to appreciate others' personal and professional perspectives creates critical thinkers and well-rounded graduates.
Removing silos between departments within higher education and modeling the value and impacts of interdisciplinary approaches should be embedded throughout the curriculum (Herremans, & Murch, 2003). This could be accomplished through team-teaching and program review to ensure students are getting a broader approach in their required courses. Cross listing courses also allows for more opportunities for students to engage with other majors and disciplines around common themes of learning.
In Class Examples
Multidisciplinary approaches in experiential learning can take places across all majors, programs, and levels of student learning. Examples for in-class activities could include:
- Students can be tasked to use different lenses to evaluate case studies, role plays, interviews, journals, etc.
- Coordinate seminars or group activity across majors who may work with similar populations but in different contexts such as public health, criminal justice, social work, and nursing or engineering, financy, architecture, and urban planning.
- Pair students based on majors to work on collaborative projects and reflect on how their differing perspectives enhanced the work.
- Invite guest speakers across disciplines to discuss their roles in addressing a problem or concern in a community.
Out of Class Examples
Outside of the classroom, students can be assigned homework as individuals or in groups. Examples could include:
- Create an assignment where students interview a professional in their own field in addition to two others, compare and contrast their answers based on the discipline and theoretical perspectives that drive their work.
- Assign roles to students when watching videos or reading articles to assess the information from different perspectives.
- Have an engineering student meet with a disability studies major to learn about formal and informal accessibility considerations.
Internships and Practicums
Internships and field practicums can provide a wealth of opportunities for multi-disciplinary learning and engagement.
Examples could include:
- Shadowing or interviewing colleagues and partners outside of one's discipline such as marketing majors meeting with engineers and information technology specialists or political science majors meeting with social justice advocates, entrepreneurs, and family scientists.
- Adopt a "grand rounds" approach similar to medicine where several students from different disciplines reflect together and brainstorm potential resources or interventions.