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ERIC Number: EJ1147217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2368-4526
Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research and Education in Canada: A Review and Suggested Framework
Gillis, Daniel; Nelson, Jessica; Driscoll, Brianna; Hodgins, Kelly; Fraser, Evan; Jacobs, Shoshanah
Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, v10 p203-222 2017
Transcending disciplinary boundaries is becoming increasingly important for devising solutions to the world's most pressing issues, such as climate change and food insecurity. Institutions of higher education often present challenges to teaching students how to work and innovate on transdisciplinary teams. We first define transdisciplinarity and like concepts, using these to review databases of three major funding agencies (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) for awards given to inter- and transdisciplinary programs across ten fiscal years beginning 2005-2006 and ending 2014-2015 to identify trends in funding as an indicator of skill need. We then search for programs offering transdisciplinary learning opportunities at Canadian universities accounting for 71% of all students. Though the proportion of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary funded research grants has risen considerably, we found only a few examples of interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students in post-secondary education programs. Generally, while students were able to take a range of courses, instruction remained discipline-specific. Specifically, Canadian undergraduates lack an in-program, experiential, transdisciplinary learning opportunity. We propose a framework (ICON) as a solution to fill this gap. Using senior independent study courses, which often have built-in curricular flexibility, students can participate with ICON while still obtaining credit towards their degrees. We conclude that transdisciplinary education opportunities are an essential part of the undergraduate experience and should be recognized across degree programs.
Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 1280 Main Street West, Mills Library Room 504, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A