F
Committee Interviews with Administrators, Scholars, and Center Directors

Over the course of the study, staff supplemented available scholarship with interviews to gain information on the history of interdisciplinary research (IDR) and related scholarship. A primary goal was to collect information on policies, procedures, and effective practices for education programs, research management, and evaluation. Interviewees’ names are listed in the order in which they were reached. In most cases, interviews were conducted by teleconference. The symbol * indicates an e-mail interview; the symbol # indicates an in-person meeting.

IDR HISTORY AND SCHOLARSHIP

Scholars and historians were queried for information on available literature resources and quantitative studies. There is a rich qualitative and philosophical literature on interdisciplinarity,1 but quantitative studies are few. Much of the research on structural models of interdisciplinarity is based on case studies published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was during that period that the National Science Foundation, through its Office

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For a review of the literature see for example: Klein, J. T. Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1990; Lattuca, L. Creativity Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Among College and University Faculty. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. 2001. Klein, J. T. “Prospectus for Transdisciplinarity.” Futures 2004, 36:515-526; Rhoten, D. 2004. “Interdisciplinary Research: Trend or Transition.” Items and Issues 5(1-2):6-11.



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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research F Committee Interviews with Administrators, Scholars, and Center Directors Over the course of the study, staff supplemented available scholarship with interviews to gain information on the history of interdisciplinary research (IDR) and related scholarship. A primary goal was to collect information on policies, procedures, and effective practices for education programs, research management, and evaluation. Interviewees’ names are listed in the order in which they were reached. In most cases, interviews were conducted by teleconference. The symbol * indicates an e-mail interview; the symbol # indicates an in-person meeting. IDR HISTORY AND SCHOLARSHIP Scholars and historians were queried for information on available literature resources and quantitative studies. There is a rich qualitative and philosophical literature on interdisciplinarity,1 but quantitative studies are few. Much of the research on structural models of interdisciplinarity is based on case studies published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was during that period that the National Science Foundation, through its Office 1   For a review of the literature see for example: Klein, J. T. Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1990; Lattuca, L. Creativity Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Among College and University Faculty. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. 2001. Klein, J. T. “Prospectus for Transdisciplinarity.” Futures 2004, 36:515-526; Rhoten, D. 2004. “Interdisciplinary Research: Trend or Transition.” Items and Issues 5(1-2):6-11.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research of Interdisciplinary Research, provided funding for international meetings on the organization of IDR.2 Most quantitative research to date has examined interdisciplinarity by using citation-database analysis.3 We contacted *Margaret Somerville, Samuel Gale Professor of Law and Professor of Medicine, McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics, and Law, McGill University *Julie Thompson Klein, professor of humanities, Wayne State University IDR PROGRAMS AND CENTERS IDR program and center directors were asked to discuss their experience in IDR, evaluating prospective researchers, accessing funding, facilitating IDR, determining research goals and duration, evaluating the success of the research team, and publishing research results. We also asked for examples of models and effective practices. From those discussions, a few themes emerged: leadership, institutional support, and departmental buy-in. To create a successful academic interdisciplinary center or program required a visionary leader. In addition to being persistent and persuasive, the leader had to have sufficient stature in the institution and in a research field and the support of the university president or provost. The leader had to coordinate her/his vision with relevant institutional departments; in effect, the leader needed to develop partnerships and sell participation in the program or center. The leader had to successfully negotiate shared costs, faculty hires, space allocation, and funding. Finally, the leader had to recruit and sustain faculty and student participation. 2   See Managing High Technology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Eds. Mar, B.W., Newell, W.T., and Saxberg, B.O. Elsevier: New York. 1985. This volume is based on papers from the Third International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., 1-3 August, 1984. 3   Baumann, H. 2003. Publish and Perish? The impact of citation indexing on the development of new fields of environmental research. Journal of Industrial Ecology 6, 3-4:13-26; Chubin, D. E., Porter, A. L., and Rossini, F. A. 1984. “Citation Classics” Analysis: An Approach to Characterizing Interdisciplinary Research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 35, 6:360-368; McCain, K. W. and Whitney, P. J. 1994. Contrasting Assessments of Interdisciplinarity in Emerging Specialties: The Case of Neural Networks Research. Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 15, 3:285-306; Steele, T. W. and Stier, J. C. 2000. The Impact of Interdisciplinary Research in the Environmental Sciences: A Forestry Case Study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 51, 5:476-84.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research We contacted James McClelland, director, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/ Frances Leslie, director, Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, University of California, Irvine, http://www.tturc.uci.edu/ Jim LeBaugh, Water Resources Division, United States Geological Survey, and participant, Shingobee Headwaters Aquatic Ecosystems Project (SHAEP), http://wwwbrr.cr.usgs.gov/projects/IRI/ C. Channa Reddy, director, Huck Institute for Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, http://www.lsc.psu.edu/ Michael Merson, director, Center for International Research on AIDS, Yale University, http://cira.med.yale.edu *John Ballato, director, Center for Optical Materials and Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET), Clemson University, Carolinas Optics Center, http://www.ces.clemson.edu/comset/ INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION PROGRAMS Education-program directors were asked to provide an overview of their interdisciplinary programs, the impetus for establishing them, their goals and duration, evaluation criteria for the competition, and information on where the programs have been implemented. We asked how an education program encouraged the development of interdisciplinary curricula and pedagogic tools. Finally, we asked for examples of models and effective practices and for suggestions of additional contacts. Among the themes that emerged were a concern that science and engineering programs were in general not appealing to undergraduates and that undergraduate and graduate programs do not sufficiently prepare students for careers in industry. Interdisciplinary problem-based approaches to learning were seen as a way to encourage more students to take science classes and to prepare students for a variety of careers. We contacted Gerry Wheeler, executive director, National Science Teachers Association, Re: ExploraVision, http://www.exploravision.org/ #Wyn Jennings, director, IGERT Program, Division of Graduate Education, National Science Foundation, http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/igert/start.htm Ed Miles, former chair, Task Force on Environmental Education, and professor, School of Marine Affairs, Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, http://depts.washington.edu/poeweb/

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research IDR EVALUATION Evaluation scholars were asked to share IDR evaluation tools and case studies with the committee relevant to IDR and program evaluation, promotion and tenure, budget models, and education and career development. In most cases, IDR evaluation tools were in development and unavailable. Social-networks analysis was often cited as an evaluation concept that had been used successfully to evaluate IDR. But scholars were quick to point out that this analysis, while providing a measure of interconnectedness and interdisciplinarity, did not necessarily measure research quality and impact. There was agreement that more work was needed to develop specific criteria and measures for IDR. We contacted #Irwin Feller, professor emeritus of economics, Pennsylvania State University Diana Rhoten, Helen Doyle, and Denise Caruso, Hybrid Vigor Institute, http://www.hybridvigor.org/ Barry Bozeman, Regents’ Professor of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology Ed Hackett, professor, Department of Sociology, Arizona State University Marye Anne Carroll, director, Biosphere-Atmosphere Research and Training (BART), University of Michigan; and Kristin Kusmierek, BART IGERT program evaluator, http://www.bart-wmich.org/ IDR POLICIES Policy makers and research administrators were asked for information on policies and procedures to facilitate IDR. We asked those at academic institutions to discuss their experience in promoting interdisciplinary initiatives. We asked research administrators to share their experiences and policies for evaluating prospective interdisciplinary researchers, accessing funding to support interdisciplinary projects, hiring interdisciplinary faculty, and facilitating IDR. For example, we asked whether faculty teaching time was shared between departments, how space for projects involving faculty from multiple departments was allocated, and whether faculty hires were made collaboratively between departments. We also inquired about how research project and program goals and duration were determined. For example, we asked how the success of interdisciplinary projects was evaluated and whether publication of research results was a key component in that evaluation. Finally, we asked for examples of models and best practices.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research In this category, a general theme was flexibility. Specific solutions need to be tailor-made to fit institutional context, but there are examples of effective policies and organizational structures. Administrators suggested meshing vertical departmental structures with horizontal, cross-cutting programmatic themes. A discretionary fund, or seed money, controlled by the provost was critical for promoting and supporting cross-cutting initiatives. Specific guidelines for promotion and tenure that accounted for interdisciplinary scholarship had been enacted. Team teaching was encouraged, and in many cases credit hours were counted by all the involved departments. Still, administrators concurred that more needed to be done to provide for cost-sharing between departments and between institutions, especially at the grant level. Some concern was expressed about national evaluation of IDR programs and centers, many of which exist outside standard institutional structures. We contacted National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Research Business Models, Committee on Science, Office of Science and Technology Policy June Howard, associate dean for interdisciplinary initiatives, University of Michigan Cornelius Sullivan, vice provost for research, University of Southern California Maria Pallavicini, professor and dean, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced IDR IN INDUSTRY AND NATIONAL LABORATORIES Directors and researchers were asked about the importance of IDR in industry and national labs. Specifically, what actions were taken to facilitate IDR? How were people organized to work together on IDR problems? What are examples of where IDR worked and where it did not work? Has the role of IDR teams evolved? And finally, what lessons can national labs provide to academia as to how to best facilitate IDR? The results of these interviews are summarized and presented in Chapter 3. We contacted: #John Armstrong, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM (ret.) *Norm Burkhard, division leader, Energy and Environment Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory *Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research Bernard S. Meyerson, IBM Fellow, VP and Chief Technologist, IBM Systems and Technology Group Edward C. Stone, David Morrisroe Professor of Physics; Vice Provost for Special Projects; former Vice President and Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991-2001). *Tom Wilbanks, chair, Corporate Fellows Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory