It’s with the rise of the growing Third Millennium that big changes are made throughout our universities. It’s evident that we utilize current technology in our education: LiveTweeting through assigned readings, constructing work through group chats, and submitting papers via an online classroom. This shift in our current technology has impacted the way we learn, we’re connected.
Oskar Gruenwald, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, believes that Interdisciplinary Studies and approaches are on the forefront of the new university system. In his article, The Promise of Interdisciplinary Studies: Re-Imagining the University, he writes that,
“In the Third Millennium, interdisciplinary approaches to learning suggest new methodologies that seek dialogue and integration of research findings across the disciplines to overcome the compartmentalization of knowledge which hinders new discoveries in the natural sciences and “connecting-the-dots” in the social and behavioral sciences, while humanities are key to understanding the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of human beings.”.
He believes that University as we know it is in crisis and that a re-invention is necessary. Our current system of higher education lacks a distinct wholeness, a connection outside of a traditional discipline. Gruenwald anticipates that more schools adapt to an interdisciplinary approach, although many already have. Brown University, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, University of Florida, University of Notre Dame, and (drum roll, please) Plymouth State University, are among a growing list of schools that are implementing connected learning. Just this year, Plymouth State introduced their Integrated Cluster Approach: “A multi-disciplinary, innovative and hands on approach to learning” essentially becoming one of the first schools in the United States to integrate multidisciplinary work on the grand scale of the university. Gruenwald recognizes that there are challenges that come with introducing an interdisciplinary approach but notes that student involvement isn’t one of them. “What attracts students most to interdisciplinary studies is the prospect of clarifying the interrelationships among various fields that show the relevance of theory to practice and real life” he writes.
This information comes as no surprise to my Interdisciplinary Studies peers and I, as we are learning exactly what we want, how we want. We’re intentional, receptive and connected; feeling as though we are entrepreneurs of a new generation of learners.