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Build Interdisciplinary Connections

Many current societal issues are connected to the Earth, such as environmental degradation, food supply, energy needs, mineral resources, climate change, and more. Incorporating these topics into a course (from any discipline) can increase relevancy and interest among students. Understanding societal issues and learning about solutions helps students develop the expertise they need to address problems that involve the Earth. Bring the Earth into your course by incorporating other's expertise or building interdisciplinary connections within your course content.

Why teach this way? »

Find and incorporate expertise to teach about the Earth

Build Connections Between Faculty

HHMI Interdisciplanary Crosstalk
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Illustration of the importance of interdisciplinary perspectives. From Daniel Fazer, HHMI Bulletin[creative commons]
Provenance: Daniel Fazer, HHMI Bulletin
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.

There are a spectrum of ways to capitalize on the strengths of others, allowing you to both draw on, and provide, expertise. Start off with what works for you, perhaps small groups with informal discussions or invite a guest speaker to your class before diving into larger scale integration.

Spectrum of Strategies to Build Faculty Connections:

Within a course


View InTeGrate team-authored materials »

Across classes

  • Team teaching
  • Core interdisciplinary courses that brings curriculum together (a.k.a. federated curriculum)
  • Core topics or themes that are linked across many disciplinary courses
More on interdisciplinary teaching strategies »

Integrate differing viewpoints

Understanding and struggling with differing viewpoints will help you build relationships across disciplines and it will help your students grasp the complexity of these topics. When working together, differing points of view bring more robust solutions to complex issues. Throughout the InTeGrate project, we have learned that (at least initial) face-to-face interactions with people are the fastest and most robust way to begin understanding different ways of thinking and approaching these issues.


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