Top Ten Suggestions for Interdisciplinary Teaching

  1. The objective of interdisciplinary teaching is to assist students with seeing complex problems and solutions from a holistic and global perspective ... reviewing the history of the pedagogical approach may be helpful, as well as linking it to the increasingly global nature of contemporary society (the world wide web, multi-national corporations, etc.)
  2. Identify specific outcomes that illustrate interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving.
  3. Construct lessons around a particular question or problem, and take time to identify the disciplines that may offer insights, responses and solutions.
  4. Take time to identify issues both central and peripheral to the problem or question; explore how addressing the periphery could enhance the process of problem solving.
  5. Explore how various disciplines would resolve an issue; analyze discipline-centric concepts and theories by investigating the success of their applications and comparing and contrasting various multi-disciplinary approaches.
  6. Assist students with content analysis of unfamiliar sources that may represent documents outside their chosen field of study; allow them to evaluate the credibility of sources through small group discussion.
  7. To enrich critical thinking and writing skills, provide ample opportunities for students to reflect upon the process of their problem solving and their insights on the relationship between the knowledge base and skills of different disciplines.
  8. Generate rubrics for student work that satisfies both formative and summative assessments, and be sure to integrate interdisciplinary elements into the rubric.
  9. Integrate skills into the problem-solving protocols that draw upon critical thinking, such as statistical literacy, content analysis, and deductive compositions.
  10. Join San Francisco State's University Interdisciplinary Council (UIC). Integrate conversations about interdisciplinary learning into the perennial issues addressed in department meetings. Make an effort to develop a project or course with members of other departments.

References for Interdisciplinary Teaching

Web Sites

Selected Publications

  • Augsburg, Tanya. Becoming Interdisciplinary: An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, 2nd Ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 2006.
  • Froderman, Robert, Julie T. Kline, and Carl Mitchman, eds. Oxford Handbook on Interdisciplinarity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2009.
  • Klein, Julie T., Humanities, Culture, and Interdisciplinarity: The Changing American Academy. Albany State University of New York Press, 2005.
  • Klein, Julie T., "Resources for Interdisciplinary Studies." Change (March/April 2005): 52-58.
  • Repko, Allen. Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory. Los Angeles and London: Sage, 2008.
  • Woods, Charlotte. "Researching and Developing Interdisciplinary Teaching: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Classroom Communication" Higher Education. Vol. 54 Issue 6, p. 853-866. Dec. 2007.