The end is only the beginning

As corny as it may sound, this seems like the only decent way to successfully put into perspective how interdisciplinary studies is changing the way students get their education, and the end of single minded disciplines is the beginning of utilizing interdisciplinarity.

To start, I am not completely dissing disciplines. I think it is important for some to have focus or specialization in one area. However, to some degree in all disciplines, interdisciplinary studies need to come into play. As it is important for a mechanic to know the in’s and out’s of a car parts and how they function. But to effectively solve a problem they must incorporate knowledge from other disciplines such as the weather, human behavior, or the chemical make up of fluids in the car. With out the drawing on other disciplines, even if their main task is accomplished in their focused discipline, to reach the conclusion of what needs to be fixed, they need to know a lot more than just the parts of the car.

So when we’re talking about the product or outcome of interdisciplinary studies, Repko points out that the “cognitive gain of interdisciplinary studies, then, is a combination of cognition and application, of understanding and taking action.” (Repko chapter 2). So, when solving a problem or answering a question, it is necessary to be able to properly understand the problem and then know how to solve it. With most problems, to understand, one must draw on multiple disciplines, and to solve the problem one must use what they know in action. So when we talk about interdisciplinary studies we want to be able to integrate knowledge from disciplines, as well as apply that same integration into the actual solution. There cannot be one without the other, and when its used in both, the solution, insight or explanation is stronger and more effective.

So if you follow interdisciplinary studies path in higher education, you should have the tools to identify, evaluate, and integrate (Rhoten, Repko chapter 2)for effective problem solving. These is the kind of important problem solving skills that will not only equip you for the workplace, but for any problems in your day to day that may come your way.

Work Cited:

Alan Repko “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies” chapter 1.Repko, Allen F., Richard Szostak, and Michelle Buchberger. SAGE Publications, Inc; 1 Edition (May 20, 2013). N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

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