Becoming an Interdisciplinarian Skills and Values*
Interdisciplinarity is a creative process of leveraging multiple perspectives to address complex issues in new and innovative ways.
Interdisciplinary studies programs typically require a high degree of self-motivation and self-direction as students in these programs often design their own degree program based on their interests and objectives. Interdisciplinary studies degrees can involve the combination of seemingly disparate subject areas. What holds these together? The student.
Interdisciplinary studies requires sampling perspectives from an array of sources both academic and non in the course of addressing complex problems.
Developing capacity in regards to perspective taking requires interdisciplinarians to learn to identify and resist confirmation biases. In other words, they must practice including sometimes opposing or contradictory perspectives, particularly when they are inclined to endorse one particular view.
Along with building capacity to seek out and include multiple perspectives, interdisciplinarians must become adept at evaluating sources. Beyond familiarity with specific areas of knowledge and their affiliated knowledge repositories, interdisciplinarians must develop a critical approach to adjudicating content--thoughts, ideas, concepts, methods, and sources.
Interdisciplinarians must develop the capacity to analyze, critique, and assess ideas and insights from an array of sources.
Building capacity as a critical thinker requires being open to new ideas and insights.
Interdisciplinarians draw on various perspectives and unpack assumptions embedded in our everyday approach to the world. In this context, it is insufficient to ask: "Why is 'normal' not working?" The more significant question is: "Why is 'normal' normal in the first place?"