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ERIC Number: EJ1194469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
Sustaining Interdisciplinary Education: Developing Boundary Crossing Governance
Hannon, John; Hocking, Colin; Legge, Katherine; Lugg, Alison
Higher Education Research and Development, v37 n7 p1424-1438 2018
Interdisciplinarity has become part of contemporary university discourses on knowledge in both research and curriculum. The move to break down traditional disciplinary boundaries reflects emerging forms of enquiry into knowledge that are less hegemonic and more distributed, and more tuned to its production, practices and the needs of its practitioners. A focus on complex problems that draws on multiple knowledge domains and an emphasis on professional knowledge have engendered a loosening of discipline boundaries in the development of curriculum and degree programmes. In this case study, we investigated teaching practices across discipline boundaries: how interdisciplinary curriculum and teaching are understood, practiced and supported within an Australian university that typifies a discipline-based organisational structure. Through interviews with relevant academics, managers and professionals, we explored the challenges and strategies in sustaining interdisciplinary curricula that were managed between several disciplinary Schools. Our findings were two-fold: engagement with interdisciplinary knowledge had profound effects on academic culture and identities among participating students and teaching staff; and significant challenges arose in the coordination and administration of interdisciplinary education, with institutional structures highlighted as a contributing factor. While the literature on interdisciplinary education emphasises academic collaborations and leadership, there has been less attention to the role of institutional processes -- mediated by procedures, artefacts and routines -- in supporting and sustaining interdisciplinary education. Aspects of the case study are used to analyse the conflicting practices arising with interdisciplinary education, and to develop the potential for boundary crossing modes of interdisciplinary governance to counter the legacy of discipline-based structures.
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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: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A