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In Defense of DisciplinesInterdisciplinarity and Specialization in the Research University$
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Jerry A. Jacobs

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226069296

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226069463.001.0001

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Implementing Interdisciplinarity

Implementing Interdisciplinarity

Chapter:
(p.210) 10 Implementing Interdisciplinarity
Source:
In Defense of Disciplines
Author(s):

Jerry A. Jacobs

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226069463.003.0010

Chapter 10 examines a number specific proposals designed to promote interdisciplinarity, including cross-disciplinary faculty appointments, “cluster hiring,” eliminating departments and disciplinary degrees, cross-disciplinary training of graduate students, and research grants targeted for interdisciplinary projects. These suggestions are assessed in terms of their likely consequences, along with the implications they have for the autonomy and viability of the existing disciplines. Many of the proposals advanced thus far will do little over the long term to consolidate knowledge into broader themes, since specialization will remain a powerful force. Some of the reforms designed to integrate knowledge will instead contribute to the proliferation of a large number of specialized interdisciplinary niches. Academic departments in particular and faculty members in general are likely to find their position in university affairs weakened as a result. Rather than promoting interdisciplinarity as an objective, better ways to strengthen the liberal arts and science disciplines are considered.

Keywords:   cross-disciplinary, faculty appointments, joint appointment, cluster hire, centralized decision making, interdisciplinary research

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