The World through an Interdisciplinary Lens

Document Type

Article - Open Access

Publication Title



American Association of University Professors

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Scholars and teachers have long struggled to respond to the growing demand for interdisciplinary approaches to complex social issues. They come to the table with their own disciplinary perspectives (scholars more rigidly than students, perhaps), but they also recognize the limitations of investigating social issues through a single disciplinary lens. They have learned, in short, that it is not sufficient to approach the pressing issues of our time from just one perspective. What is the best approach for teaching students to tackle complex problems while maintaining the rigor imposed by academic disciplines and recognizing the value of the flexibility offered by interdisciplinary study? More pragmatically, how can professors stay grounded in their home disciplinary base while incorporating and synthesizing diverse perspectives and interconnections?