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ERIC Number: EJ799810
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Opportunities and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Research and Education
Lin, Henry
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v37 p83-91 2008
Interdisciplinary research and education (IDRE) holds center stage in current academic discussions. Despite the widespread agreement on the promises of IDRE, barriers for effective IDRE implementation remain significant. This study explored the opportunities and challenges of IDRE in integrated soil and water sciences at the Pennsylvania State University through a faculty survey and an educational project. The study revealed that: (1) co-advising graduate student is a common practice as a means of IDRE, and the overall positive aspects out-weigh the negative aspects; (2) joint faculty appointments receive mixed reactions, and are viewed by some as advantageous for the university but difficult for the faculty; (3) people issues are absolutely a critical aspect of successful IDRE; however, IDRE could also be accomplished by small groups or individuals; (4) synergistic approaches have not yet been commonly implemented, because IDRE collaborations often consist of faculty continuing piece-meal contributions independent of one another; (5) a new/renewed interdisciplinary undergraduate program in integrated soil and water sciences remains questionable as a viable solution to the declining undergraduate enrollment; (6) a potential new and broader graduate program appears to be promising, with a possible target on the emerging Critical Zone science (an interdisciplinary science that advocates the holistic studies of the Earth's near-surface environments, which extend from the top of vegetations to the bottom of aquifers); and (7) reward system needs to be enhanced to truly facilitate IDRE, and should be considered as a focus from both administration and practicality points of view. It is hoped, through such a study, that more true synergies can be realized through enhanced IDRE in academic environments. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A