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School of Environment and Natural Resources


SENR Honors Thesis Presentation: Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Apr 19, 2013, 1:30pm - 2:30pm

An SENR Honors Thesis presentation will be held Friday, Apr. 19, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in 382 Kottman Hall. Andrea Chu will present Interdisciplinary Collaboration at The Ohio State University.

Traditionally academic approaches have been divided into disciplines including natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. This disciplinary approach has contributed to the development of a substantial depth of knowledge within each particular field of inquiry; however, limited connections have been made between disciplines. Currently, there is a growing recognition that no one discipline has all the answers for many of today’s pressing questions particularly those related to the environment, yet little research has been completed on the factors that encourage or constrain interdisciplinary research. This study addresses this research gap by completing qualitative interviews with faculty researchers across several disciplines and departments at The Ohio State University. Most participants indicated that societal problems are complex, non-linear, and dynamic, and require integrated approaches to gain a richer understanding of these problems and inform potential responses. While most participants recognized growing support for interdisciplinary efforts among university and college administration, experiences at the department level vary widely suggesting differences in how particular disciplines value interdisciplinary research as well as institutional support for such approaches within departments. Institutional incentives and constraints at the department-level appear particularly important to the success of interdisciplinary collaborations.