Tuesday, December 2, 2008


In his paper, Newell discusses several forms of disciplines, looking at various authors definitions. I liked the way he set up this paper for the fact that he first looked at the ways people see interdisciplinary, defining what it is but then also looking at other definitions of what people might see as interdisciplinary. I have always seen my major as a fruit basket, from his examples, several separate entities put together to form something great, they all share space and time but they are not blended enough to not see their form or their placement. What I mean by that is if you look at the methods I study and the curriculum I take you can see where different theories arose and which discipline I got what from, BUT like a fruit basket things overlap and play into one another.
Newell shows multidisciplinary as a collection of ideas and concepts resting side by side, then on the other end you have transdisciplinary that come up with this assortment of goo that has no real components just a greater form to the previous additions, like a smoothie of fruit, and in the middle, balancing the two, you have interdisciplinary. Newell then acknowledges and confronts the most difficult thing about studying anything not defined as a discipline, degrees of synthesis and integration, first defining for the reader what integration is. To be honest, when I first began studying Interdisciplinary Studies it seemed like the easy way out, I could take a wide variety of classes and call it a day. I never thought about the “conceptual framework” or the “locus of activities”. However, reading through Newell it is intriguing to me to see the variety of ways to see this major. I think most people when they hear interdisciplinary studies, and see the courses I have taken see it as multidisciplinary an “absence of any deliberate attempt at integration”. My parents constantly ask “how does this apply or why is this study better than anyone already laid out for you?” I usually brush off their questions telling them that they are old and far removed from the education system that they just don’t see the art and the privilege in this form of study. It is not that we have complete freedom in this study, rather a free reign. I am in control of the study I wish to achieve. I other disciplines you are forced to continue in a cycle of classes and stay in a rigid system. However, just looking at the ten or so people in our class you can see the excitement found in Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as the limits. Looking at the Mission statement found in the same packet of paper, you can see that the authors agree with me. “Knowledges are disconnected by several sets of barriers, including: economic class, disciplinarity (e.g., sciences/humanities), collegiate structures (e.g., education/business), intra-psychic formations, race, ethnicity, gender, and the expert and non-expert”. This is exactly what I was talking about, other disciplines limit students into a specific category and yet even with the path laid out those students find barriers, women just because they are women find limits in pay and advancements, even though we have Equal opportunities people of color still find limits on their learning and their advancements. There are always limits to education but when in a place of study there should be more leeway to study that which is necessary, finding ways to encourage “creative practices in teaching”. There are so many degrees of which you can teach. In this class we all are reaching for different goals. I am working toward creating a non-profit that works with the disabled population. To my right someone is working toward becoming a movie critic or analyst, we have student who want to work in foreign countries, who want to expand the internet, the list continues. The beauty in this form of studying is the freedom we have to explore.
Individually focusing this paper toward my study, it is interesting to see my level of integration from last year to this year. At the beginning I was just taking classes that I thought would help me, so I took some communication classes, and some sociology classes. In my head I was making connections, hearing things repeatedly helped with that aspect, but I was not really integrating the practices into future plans or even discussing them with fellow students and faculty. This year, I am in several IDS specific classes and all I do is talk about my major, rather my life goal and the studies I am in to prepare. Newell would classify me as a fruit basket, interdisciplinary, in the second level of integration. I have a long way to go before I am integrated to the highest degree with a “single, intellectually coherent entity” but I think that is the joy found in this area. All disciplines are mapped out for students, you will take this class your freshman year, and this your senior year. With IDS we have requirements and things to work toward like the portfolio but classes are not laid out the same. I think this is one of the hardest things for me is actually sitting down to look at all the classes offered and deciding which one would be more beneficial to me. Another struggle is knowing that this is the proper way of achieving my future goals, if employers in my early year out of college will see my plan as crafty, original and exciting or as lazy and an easy way out.
I have talked with several employers to get their opinion and I have come up with this sense of peace. All of them agree that is the employee has a heart for their studies no matter what it is, and show true desire to execute their learning’s in an effective way then they will gladly hire them. So for me, I need to work on making sure the classes I am taking are teaching me but that I am being receptive to the lessons and having an open mind to hear something new!

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