Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Freshmen Program

Ahoy me hearties!

As a pirate lookout, my charge was to investigate a concept that could be repurposed here at UVU.  The concept that caught this pirate’s eye came from Southern Utah University’s Jumpstart program.  SUU is piloting the Jumpstart program this year.  The program consists of a small cohort of freshmen, who, when the academic year is over, will have all of their general education requirements completed.  What caught my attention was the interdisciplinary nature of the Jumpstart program.  The SUU website reads, “When the professors began their planning they realized there was significant overlap between the individual courses and that by working together they could create a synergistic learning environment that is both engaging and efficient.”

We here in the Office of Teaching and Learning have the unique opportunity to work with a wide variety of faculty across the multitudes of disciplines.  Through faculty development, curriculum design and course support efforts, we get to see the broad range of topics taught to students.  We also get to see the crossover of topics that are taught among the many disciplines.  For example, many courses across campus touch on the topic of systems.  Classes include, but are not limited to, Project Management, Organizational Communication, Navigating Health Systems, Sociology, and Family Science.  What if there was a way to get those faculty who teach about systems together?  What would happen if those faculty shared what each knew about systems?  What could each faculty member take away from such an encounter?  And, how could such an interaction enrich the learning experiences for students?

Is interdisciplinary collaboration happening at UVU?  Sure, it is! Is it possible to bring together more faculty and encourage more interdisciplinary collaboration? Of course.  Perhaps we could start by identifying topics that cross discipline boundaries and inviting the faculty teaching those topics to talk with each other.

Let’s weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!