Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching among College and University Faculty

Lisa R. Lattuca
Interdisciplinarity, a favorite buzzword of faculty and administrators, has been appropriated to describe so many academic pursuits that it is virtually meaningless. With a writing style that is accessible, fluid, and engaging, Lisa Lattuca remedies this confusion with an original conceptualization of interdisciplinarity based on interviews with faculty who are engaged in its practice. Whether exploring the connections between apparently related disciplines, such as English and women's studies, or such seemingly disparate fields as economics and theology, Lattuca moves away from previous definitions based on the degrees of integration across disciplines and instead focuses on the nature of the inquiry behind the work. She organizes her findings around the processes through which faculty pursue interdisciplinarity, the contexts (institutional, departmental, and disciplinary) in which faculty are working, and the ways in which those contexts relate to and affect the interdisciplinary work. Her findings result in useful suggestions for individuals concerned with the meaning of faculty work, the role and impact of disciplines in academe today, and the kinds of issues that should guide the evaluation of faculty scholarship.

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