Interdisciplinarity is an emerging topic in higher education, especially in relation to the future needs of our complex world. However, what is interdisciplinarity? How do we define it? As a Liberal Arts and Science program, UCU has experience with multiple disciplines. But how does interdisciplinarity fit in?
Interdisciplinarity is one of the core educational practices at UCU, as we have - since 1998 - given students the unique opportunity to combine different scientific disciplines in different tracks and to be part of courses that are located between established disciplines. Our hypothesis is that interdisciplinarity is necessary for the fostering and development of new academic fields and innovative research, and that therefore we should already educate our Bachelor students more intensively in interdisciplinary thinking, theory, and skills.
September 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the first University College in the Netherlands: University College Utrecht. To celebrate this wonderful occasion, a panel debate, focusing on the merits of interdisciplinarity, will take place. This event will be watched in person by an audience as well as be broadcasted live in multiple locations. The aim is to bring together an array of people through a webinar style medium to enhance the innovative nature of interdisciplinarity. The audience will provide input for discussion through technological means, which the moderator will incorporate into the debate.
During the event, each panel member will be asked to respond to and elaborate on our Interdisciplinarity hypothesis during a 7-minute exposition. This exposition could, for instance, reject or defend our premise on interdisciplinarity, but it could also consist of a brief, personal exposé on how interdisciplinarity has shaped their research. The panel will be chaired by UCU Director of Education dr. Sabine Uijl.