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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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Integrative Undergraduate Education

Integrative Undergraduate Education

Chapter:
(p.188) 9 Integrative Undergraduate Education
Source:
In Defense of Disciplines
Author(s):

Jerry A. Jacobs

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226069463.003.0009

Chapter 9 considers interdisciplinarity in the context of undergraduate education. Evidence on the prevalence of cross-listed courses, team-taught classes and dual majors is presented that suggests that connections between diverse subjects are surprisingly common. Trend data since the 1970s indicate that interdisciplinary majors typically graduate few degree recipient. This point, among others, questions the notion that undergraduate demand is responsible for the expansion of interdisciplinary programs. A paradox of integrative education is proposed, namely that integration is more feasible and more likely the narrower the student’s specialty. Ironically, the traditional disciplines have played a key role in creating the intellectual underpinnings of many of the applied fields which become competitors for undergraduate enrollments.

Keywords:   integrated knowledge, integrated learning, cross-listed courses, team-teaching, service learning, pre-professional education, college degrees

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