Changing Currents in Education and Public Life
Edited by Lynn Book and David Phillips
Chapter 4: Social entrepreneurship as change agent in the academy: Approaches to interdisciplinarity
A current hot topic in academic circles is how much scholars have to gain by initiating dialogues and collaborative research across disciplinary (e.g., History, English) and divisional (e.g., humanities, social sciences) boundaries and by engaging with communities outside of academia. Such synergies promise exciting possibilities for new paradigms of thought, imaginative applications of discipline-specific ideas, extra-and cross-disciplinarity, and the emergence of entirely new fields of knowledge at the intersection of current disciplinary boundaries. In addition to removing the constraints that limit the ability of faculty to effectively interact within a diverse range of intellectual communities and knowledge bases, we must find mechanisms to ensure that students learn more holistic approaches to thinking and engagement, pursuing ideas wherever they lead, as well as learning to integrate these ideas within broader interdisciplinary contexts (Sill, 1996). This discussion has been harried by cries that the humanities and arts and, to some extent, the social sciences have lost their relevance and fallen short of expectations that they would help to solve the wide range of urgent problems plaguing humankind, even though scholars have done their best to refute this notion (Early, 2009).
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