David Steven Goldstein
Introduction to advanced work in interdisciplinary studies centered on broadly based questions and problems. Stresses the skills necessary to engage in upper-division research and learning in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program.
AUTUMN 2010: In this course, students will hone their academic skills while considering the ways in which the production of knowledge can be pursued through interdisciplinary inquiry. Through intensive reading of challenging texts, spirited and thoughtful discussion of complex intellectual concepts, and careful, extensive writing, students will develop an interdisciplinary foundation of ideas and skills for success as Interdisciplinary Studies majors, and more importantly, as lifelong learners.
This course serves as a "program core" course, which means it is designed to provide you with fundamental skills you will need as you undertake upper-division undergraduate work here. Most students transferring from community colleges, and some who are transferring from four-year colleges and universities, find the expectations for their work--in terms of quantity and quality--to be much higher here. Like any worthwhile endeavor, a degree here is challenging, especially if you have other important commitments like work and family. This course, which is moderate in required reading and heavy in required writing, is typically one of the most challenging one students take in pursuit of their interdisciplinary studies degree, but you should view it as an investment that will pay off when you take other courses here. Be ready to work very hard and to commit an average of ten to fifteen hours per week (some weeks fewer, some weeks more) to this course.
You do not undertake this effort alone, however. The faculty and staff at the UWB campus are dedicated to work with you as you pursue this exciting challenge. This course is a first step, and, among other goals, will present the numerous resources at your disposal which will make your work more meaningful and interesting to you and will support your efforts. We will work as hard as you to make your career here a success. (Keep in mind that "success" is not always, and never most importantly, measured in terms of grade point average. You will need to define "success" for yourself. We will do whatever we can to assist as you pursue that success.)
We will work in a variety of modes, just as you will throughout your academic career and beyond. You will do some work independently, some in small groups, and some with all of your classmates. Together, we can make these assignments and exercises meaningful, rich, and enjoyable, so you will complete the course with a better understanding of your place as a student, a scholar, and a citizen, but also with an understanding of the complex topic of interdisciplinarity and how it relates to you, to our society, and to our world on a daily basis.
Student learning goals
Understand and appreciate the interdisciplinary production of knowledge and the ways in which it underwrites different aspects of the IAS Program
Gain a critical understanding of the IAS Program's diverse and interrelated (inter)disciplinary fields and methods of inquiry
Become better critical thinkers and writers, capable of posing, answering, and reposing a variety of complex question
Become better researchers, able to use the resources at UWB and elsewhere in order to identify existing and complementary scholarly work while producing original knowledge through data gathering and interpretation
Become better speakers, able to communicate clearly and engagingly about complicated topics, arguments, and issues
Become better collaborators as learners, researchers, and teachers
General method of instruction
The general method of instruction will be collaborative and independent work, facilitated by the instructor.
Completion of lower-division coursework is sufficient preparation for this course.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will include an essay, peer critiques, an article abstract, and a research proposal developed with a team.
The above assignments will be submitted in a learning portfolio, which will be the basis of course grades. Class contribution also will be encouraged and rewarded.