Skip to main content

36 copy

by Natalie Yosipovitch ’17

On Monday, the DTH published an opinion article criticizing the lack of interdisciplinary focus at UNC. While the author’s viewpoint on the need for increased university inclusion of interdisciplinary study is valid, current and future efforts by the university must also be recognized.

As an interdisciplinary studies major myself, I have had the privilege to take advantage of a variety of cross-disciplinary initiatives at UNC. Specifically, my area of study, Health and Humanities, is largely working to expand this focus campus-wide. I believe that the integration of interdisciplinary work in the field of health and humanities can be used as a model for cross-discipline education throughout the university.

One multi-disciplinary health and humanities initiative I am involved in is ENGL 690, an intensive research course run through HHIVE-an Interdisciplinary Venue for Exploration. This course provides me with the opportunity to understand and incorporate different perspectives into hands-on research with distinguished faculty across the university.

Interdisciplinary emphasis and collaboration is not restricted to the newly developed HHIVE lab. In fact, a university-wide task force, involving not only departments of the college of arts and science, but also administrators and faculty from professional schools ranging from medicine to social work, has been established. The task-force serves as a collaboration between various departments of the university to promote interdisciplinary study of health and humanities in their respective fields. Integration of interdisciplinary curricula in this subject is expected across the university in future years.

Beyond the realm of health and humanities, UNC has promoted interdisciplinary study through the diversity of general education requirements. While these courses serve to expand students’ worldview and expose them to new subjects, they do not encourage students to embrace a more thoughtful, integrated course of study. In order to ensure that all students are receiving the benefit of interdisciplinary study, student majors must incorporate related courses and material from outside disciplines.

Another smaller and more “artisanal” effort to encourage cross-disciplinary education at UNC is Arts@theCore, an initiative brought about by Carolina Performing Arts. University officials hope to expand the mission of Arts@theCore- to intersect performing arts and academics- by investing five million dollars in a new performing arts center called the Core at Carolina Square.

Furthermore, university-wide interdisciplinary effort is represented by the campus theme, “Food for All.” This initiative is steered by a multidisciplinary committee who encourage departments across the university to collaborate in learning about and improving global and local food access.

The above examples are restricted to initiatives I have been exposed to as an undergraduate student. I am sure that there are many more interdisciplinary initiatives at this university I have not mentioned that would be of interest to my peers.

While there is an apparent need for increased interdisciplinary promotion at UNC, current opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning should be known.

I have been fortunate to have and know about interdisciplinary opportunities in health and humanities, and hope that my peers are afforded the same opportunities in the fields they are passionate about. As a liberal arts university, UNC will and should do more to develop awareness and application of interdisciplinary study to students.

Comments are closed.