Comprehensive Strategies for Interdisciplinary Education

Comprehensive Strategies for Interdisciplinary Education

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Learn how to create or improve the architecture and organization of your interdisciplinary education initiative.

More and more institutions are implementing interdisciplinary education initiatives to keep up with rapidly shifting market demand and workforce expectations, as well as to attract new streams of grant support and help stretch academic resources further.

However, the delivery of interdisciplinary education programs often falters when leaders are faced with structural and organizational challenges, such as failing to:

  • Support faculty through the transition
  • Revise incentive and promotion structures
  • Transform program development processes
  • Explore new means of funding
"The seeds of an idea for a program can come from above or from faculty, but for an interdisciplinary program to succeed, it must have broad-based support for faculty to teach and departments to be involved. It takes a committed team to create and sustain a vibrant program."

- Anne Hiskes, Conference Speaker, Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Grand Valley State University

Join us for a highly interactive, action-oriented training that will explore various structures for interdisciplinary initiatives and provide you with strategies to meaningfully engage your faculty from the outset, build outcomes-focused programs, discover funding opportunities, and more.

Through our intensive two-day agenda, you’ll:

  • Hear case studies from several higher ed leaders who have successfully implemented interdisciplinary initiatives on various levels
  • Have ample time to receive one-on-one consulting from our expert speakers and outline next steps and set short- and long-term goals
  • Plan for the sustainability and maintenance of your initiative


Who Should Attend

This conference will be a valuable learning experience for deans, provosts, department chairs, and leaders of interdisciplinary initiatives interested in fostering a more interdisciplinary education for students. This conference will also provide insights for anyone working to reform their general education or aiming to make changes in specific colleges or departments.

Though the content of this training will be focused on the college, department, or institution level programs, those wishing to improve interdisciplinary structure at a program level will also benefit.


Bring your team and save!

Save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.


Day 1

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Wednesday, breakfast on Thursday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.


Presenting the Case for Interdisciplinarity

Though institutions, schools, and programs have different motivations for pursuing interdisciplinary education, most of us find ourselves needing to make the case for interdisciplinarity by sharing how it serves our institution, our faculty, and our students. In this foundational session, our faculty will address how to build and present this case to various stakeholders.



Models for Interdisciplinary Education: Case Studies

We will explore the structures, barriers, and advantages through case studies from our faculty.



Working Session

In this session, you will assess your opportunities and barriers, evaluate existing structures, and plan for improvements.



Revising Promotion and Incentive Structures

After evaluating the conditions of your interdisciplinary initiative, our faculty will demonstrate how course loads can be intentionally distributed to protect faculty from burnout and how interdisciplinary work can be reflected in promotion and tenure.



Networking Reception

This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


Day 2

8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Building Problem-Based, Outcome-Focused Programs

As industry changes, there is pressure to restructure our programs to focus on assessable outcomes. Whether you are creating learning experiences at the course, degree, or school level, you will learn how to start with the outcome or problem, listen across disciplines to gather perspectives, and make connections that stimulate results and solutions.



Preparing Faculty to Teach with an Interdisciplinary Mindset

Collaborating and teaching across disciplines requires a wide-ranging skill set. Our expects will discuss how to:

  • Support your faculty in developing the skills to connect and integrate across disciplines
  • Prepare faculty to serve as mentors or advisors for new interdisciplinary paths
  • Hire with interdisciplinarity in mind




Many interdisciplinary programs begin as cost-effective because universities utilize their own faculty who are willing to take on a new program. Over time, that is not sustainable or scalable. We’ll discuss how to align institutional resources to ensure sustainability as well as other funding considerations, such as faculty development grants for program and curriculum development and interdisciplinary pedagogy.



Action Planning and Consulting

As we close the conference, you will gather your insights from previous sessions to decide on next steps, set short- and long-term goals, and plan for the sustainability and maintenance of your initiative. Our faculty will be available for one-on-one consulting during this time.


Corey Cook

Corey Cook

Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Planning, Saint Mary’s College of California

Corey joined Saint Mary’s College of California on July 1 as the Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Planning. Prior to that, he served as the founding dean of the School of Public Service and Professor of Political Science at Boise State University.

Read Corey's full bio here.


Anne Hiskes

Former Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Grand Valley State University

With over 40 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Hiskes offers extensive expertise in developing and cultivating interdisciplinary programs, interdisciplinary teacher-scholars, and administrative structures to support interdisciplinarity.

Read Anne's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Whitney Egstad
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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