Liberal Studies Seminar
Upon acceptance into the Liberal Studies program, the student will be enrolled in IDST 2930 "Liberal Studies Seminar." Ideally this course is taken in the second term of the 2nd year or the first term of the 3rd year. The course is designed to introduce the student to the theories and methods of interdisciplinary research, and to help guide the student toward the capstone class and senior project.
As a result of the seminar course, students will be able to:
Define and discuss interdisciplinary studies, including a summary of the Western education experience and the concentrations of the major academic departments in a modern American university
Describe the characteristics of interdisciplinarians, including the discontinuous chain of events that led themselves to an appreciation of interdisciplinary studies
Recognize and analyze interdisciplinary research applied to solving complex problems and addressing complex issues
Apply particular interdisciplinary concepts from readings and lectures to a critical analysis of important current issues, and use the experiences provided by the course to construct and articulate an interdisciplinary theme that will guide their coursework and direct their senior project research
Adopt the motivations of service learning, and participate as a scholar in a community-based organization which promotes civil society
Recognize and appreciate the ambiguous nature of complex problems and the values of diversity in the modern world
Present the advantages of augmenting classroom study with an internship or study abroad
The Seminar class meets once a week, using a workbook-style text to engage students in interdisciplinary learning and theory. Contemporary issues are presented to allow students an opportunity to recognize complex issues and problems, and develop approaches to comprehending and solving these issues. The class is discussion-based, and students are expected to contribute freely in the peer-to-peer learning that engages interdisciplinary thought.
Other important components of the seminar class include Service Learning, interdisciplinary events and discussions, and the initial proposition of a complex research issue. Following the seminar class, the student should continue to develop mastery in the four academic disciplines, all the while engaging the interdisciplinary view. During the second term of the 3rd year, the student should be working to absorb disciplinary perspectives and borrow disciplinary methods and theories. It is important for students to form relationships with disciplinary mentors during this time.
In the senior year, the student will apply these methods and theories in the Senior Capstone course.
"Interdisciplinary understanding is 'the capacity to integrate knowledge and modes of thinking in two or more disciplines to produce a cognitive advancement' that would not be possible using single disciplinary means. This advancement includes 'explaining a phenomenon, solving a problem, creating a product, or raising a new question' (Boix Mansilla, 2005, p.16)."
(Repko, Allen F. 2008. Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.)