ERIC Number: ED161366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-May
Reference Count: 0
Interdisciplinarity: Policies and Practices. AIR Forum Paper 1978.
Assimopoulos, Nadia; Belanger, Charles H.
Interdisciplinary policies and practices at the University of Montreal were studied to determine their effectiveness. The three study objectives were to: (1) determine the magnitude of the range set up by the department degree structure to give student majors an opportunity to take courses outside their basic discipline; (2) assess the degree of students' responsiveness to utilize course offerings outside their basic discipline; and (3) measure the ability of departments to attract students from related and foreign disciplines. The degree program structures of selected disciplines were analyzed over a three-year period. The magnitude of the range allowing for course work outside a student's area of concentration remained stable in most cases. Multidisciplinarity, or the potential utilization of various disciplines, is common at the University. Theoretical degree program structures welcome breadth through optional courses and electives, but depth prevails in most of the students' major curricula. It is concluded that multidisciplinarity is desirable to restrain curricular duplication and parochialism, but its limitations make it nonviable as a means to assure basic broad knowledge in the major forms of intellectual discourse. Minimum standards for breadth and maximum standards for depth need to be set in order to assure a basic understanding of knowledge acquisition in main branches of study and to guard against the dangers of overspecialization. An autonomous faculty group should be formed to represent interdisciplinary interests and to defend them politically. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montreal Univ. (Quebec).
Note: Paper presented at the annual Association for Institutional Research Forum (18th, Houston, Texas, May 21-25, 1978)