Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Making Interdisciplinarity Work Stephanie Pfirman Barnard College, Columbia University Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives Co-PI NSF Columbia Earth.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Making Interdisciplinarity Work Stephanie Pfirman Barnard College, Columbia University Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives Co-PI NSF Columbia Earth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Interdisciplinarity Work Stephanie Pfirman Barnard College, Columbia University Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives Co-PI NSF Columbia Earth Institute Advancing Women in the Sciences President, Council of Environmental Deans and Directors 1 Chronicle 2005

2 Outline Who is engaging in interdisciplinarity? How do people approach interdisciplinarity? What are the consequences of engaging in interdisciplinarity? What can individuals do to overcome interdisciplinary challenges? What can institutions do to build interdisciplinary capacity? 2

3 WHO IS ENGAGING IN INTERDISCIPLINARITY? 3

4 Lifecycle/Cohort % Time Spent on Interdisciplinary Research 4 Women 1.1x Junior Women1.4x Jr Women not PE1.7x Evaluation Associates, 1999: Research Assessment in the United Kingdom Medical and Biological Sciences Physical and Engineering Sciences Social Sciences Arts and Humanities All

5 Disciplinary Stereotypes ________________________________ 1. Quantitative 2. Qualitative 3. Concerned about others 4. Communal 5. Tough 6. Self-driven 7. Independent 8. Nice 9. Assertive 10. Welfare orientation 11. Self-promoting 12. Helpful 13. Collaborative 14. Careerist 15. Risky science 16. Mainstream science 17. Consensus style 18. Task oriented 19. Socially sensitive 20. Synthesis 21. Quick to publish 22. Productive 23. Multitasking 24. Focused 25. Competitive 26. Societal good 27. Friendly 28. Democratic leadership 29. Hierarchical leadership 5 ________________________________ InterdisciplinaryStereotypes

6 Characteristics of Disciplinary vs. Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Scientists … Disciplinary Quantitative Tough Self-driven Independent Assertive Self-promoting, take credit for successes Careerist Risky science within the mainstream/consensus science Focused, task oriented Quick to publish, get ideas out Productive Competitive Command-and-control leadership (e.g. lab hierarchy) Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Relational, qualitative Friendly, nice Concerned about others and their welfare Helping Socially sensitive, listening Communal Less careerist Interdisciplinary science Multitasking Synthesis Not competitive Consensus oriented, democratic leadership 6 Which side looks like an easier tenure case?

7 Interdisciplinary researchers do not tend to specialize, while disciplinary researchers do 7 Measuring researcher interdisciplinarity Alan L. Porter, Alex S. Cohen, David Roessner and Marty Perreault, 2007, ScientometricsScientometrics Gardner’s Synthesizing Mind?

8 Evolution toward ID, or ID from outset? “Knowing when and how to bring interdisciplinary work into one’s career is a question for many researchers. Kinzig notes that many scientists feel strongly that students should become expert in one discipline before crossing boundaries. But, she adds, “I think we have an increasing number of students who aren’t that interested in being disciplinary. I think if I had had to focus narrowly within a particular discipline, I would not have finished graduate school. I just would have gotten bored.”’ 8 NATURE|Vol 443|21 September 2006

9 ID Training 9 Structuring Curricular Content / Career Trajectory DisciplinaryInterdisciplinary Bloom's Taxonomy? FunnelFanSandwichBuffet IntroductoryD or IDDID Knowledge, Comprehension IntermediateDID or DDID Application, Analysis CapstoneDID Synthesis, Evaluation Pfirman, 2008

10 HOW DO PEOPLE APPROACH INTERDISCIPLINARITY? 10

11 ID Research, Teaching, Administration 11 Rhoten and Pfirman, 2007a,b Cross-fertilization – adapting and using ideas, approaches and information from different fields and/or disciplines Team-collaboration – collaborating in teams or networks that span different fields and/or disciplines Field-creation – topics that sit at the intersection or edges of multiple fields and/or disciplines Problem-orientation – problems that engage multiple stakeholders and missions outside of academe, for example that serve society Intrapersonal: Cognitive Connections Interpersonal: Collegial Connections Inter- departmental: Cross-field Connections Stakeholder: Community Connections

12 Cognitive Connections 12 Evaluation Associates, 1999 Women 1.3x

13 Collegial Connections 13 Evaluation Associates, 1999 Ways of working of researchers involved in ID research (%)

14 WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF ENGAGING IN INTERDISCIPLINARITY? 14

15 Promise and Perils of Interdisciplinary Research Often Early Attraction …But Later difficulties … New areaCan break new ground Less competition Less urgency Lack of recognition by established scholars Lack of funding opportunities Lack of journals Lack of peer reviewers Career trajectory not known Long start up time No one to correct flaws Social/Applied Connections Appeals to social conscience Connect with public good Less prestigious research area Complex questions Holistic approach requiredLess amenable to theory CollaborativeBuild on strengths of others Use people skills Time to cultivate and maintain Critical literature in other field Dependent on collaborator Idea origin not clear Between Depts/Centers Freedom because outside of established hierarchy No one has responsibility for you Inter- institutional Broadens network for letter writers Requires travel Less visibility on home campus

16 Promise and Perils of Interdisciplinary Education and Community Often Early Attraction … But Later difficulties … TeachingExciting subject Student interest Co-teaching Field experiences Service learning <= No textbook, resources Lack of infrastructure to sustain “ extra ” duties (note Theater) Campus LifeCampus programming Community connections Bridge betw disciplines: search committees, presentations Become known on campus Everyone wants a piece of you Scholarly Participation Field more open, can initiate programs Few high level, prestigious committees Not as many honors in interdisciplinary fields Promotion and Tenure Criteria often disadvantage interdisciplinary scholars Pfirman, Martin et al.,

17 17 “Are there impediments to interdisciplinary research at your current institution?” Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, 2004, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Convocation

18 Small Differences in Promotional Steps Add Up Over time 18

19 Diverse Academics Less Productive than those who Specialize 19 Note: The diverse scholar has a specialization score of.58, the 25 th and 75 th percentiles, respectively, of the distribution of specialization scores. Leahey et al Gendered academic careers: Specializing for success? Social Forces, 85, 3,

20 Women Specialize Less , Gender & Society

21 ID Leads to Identity Issues The Central Source of Faculty Identity is the Discipline 21 “Each of us has had the experience of feeling as though we do not ‘really’ belong to the research team, or that, upon returning to our scholarly ‘homes’ after a research meeting, we do not really belong there either. Working at the boundaries of communities of practice, team members can feel uprooted, alien, frustrated. … (Lingard et al., 2007). … while their peers establish identity and status within the discipline, interdisciplinary scholars have to “live without the comfort of expertise” (Lattuca, 2001)

22 Expertise and Status Wittenbaum and Bowman, 2005 “Cognitively central” members expected to hold higher-status position and dominate discussion more than “cognitively peripheral” members

23 Communication of “Shared” vs. “Unshared” Information 23 Shared information evaluated as more important, relevant Members value shared information and those who contribute it because that information can be verified as correct Wittenbaum and Bowman, 2005

24 Communication of Unshared Information Unshared information communicated by high- status member is more likely to be repeated, remembered and shared than if communicated by low-status member  Members judged by others as competent are afforded opportunity and credibility necessary for emphasizing unshared information Unshared information mentioned by low-status members is not remembered and repeated to the same extent: perhaps met with some skepticism and perhaps valued less Wittenbaum and Bowman, 2005 Non- mainstream/ Inter- disciplinary

25 Study of Faculty Worklife at the University of Wisconsin-Madison “Non-Mainstream” = Lack of Value Study of Faculty Worklife at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 25 Non-mainstream lack of value1.9x Colleagues solicit my opinion about workColleagues value my research Faculty Perceptions of Colleagues’ Valuation of Research

26 Faculty Perception of Colleagues’ Valuation of Research by Gender and Department Chair Study of Faculty Worklife at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 26 Women 1.2x

27 Faculty Perception of Colleagues’ Valuation of Research by Faculty of Color and Majority Faculty Study of Faculty Worklife at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 27 Non-majority 1.2x

28 Faculty who describe their research as "non-mainstream" responded more negatively to all items than their colleagues doing "mainstream" research Workplace Interactions:  The Faculty Worklife survey asked faculty to evaluate the quality of their workplace interactions along five thematic dimensions: respect in the workplace, informal departmental interactions, colleagues' valuation of research, isolation and "fit," and departmental decision-making. Cause vs. effect? 28 Study of Faculty Worklife at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: N = 1,338.

29 WHAT CAN INDIVIDUALS DO TO OVERCOME ID CHALLENGES? 29

30 CV Publication Annotation CV Publication Annotation? PNAS: Authors must indicate their specific contributions to the published work. … Examples of designations include:  Designed research  Performed research  Contributed new reagents or analytic tools  Analyzed data  Wrote the paper Nature: “Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of every author.”  T.J. and U.H.v.A. designed the study;  T.J., E.A.M., M.I., S.M. and P.A.L. performed experiments;  T.J., E.A.M., M.I. and S.M. collected and analysed data;  M.B., K.F., N.C.D.P., D.M.S., N.v.R. and S.P.W. provided reagents and mice;  T.J., E.A.M., M.I. and U.H.v.A. wrote the manuscript; S.M.,  K.F., S.E.H., T.M. and S.P.W. gave technical support and conceptual advice. 30

31 Develop a Focused Research Strategy Draft a research plan  Include several, but not too many, synergistic projects (maybe 3?)  Create a conceptual model/cartoon to help frame and communicate research  Develop a timeline with dates of meetings, deadlines for RFPs, etc. 31

32 Conceptual models as tools for communication across disciplines Conceptual models as tools for communication across disciplines Heemskerk, M., K. Wilson, and M. Pavao-Zuckerman Conservation Ecology 7(3): 8.

33 Planning Can Work “… postdoctoral scholars who had crafted explicit plans with their adviser at the outset of their appointments were more satisfied with their experience than those who had not. In addition to subjective measures of success, postdoctoral scholars with written plans  submitted papers to peer-reviewed journals at a 23% higher rate  first-author papers at a 30% higher rate, and  grant proposals at a 25% higher rate  than those without written plans.” From NAS Bias Report 2006: G Davis (2005). Optimizing the Postdoctoral Experience: An Empirical Approach (working paper). Research Triangle Park, NC: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

34 WHAT CAN INSTITUTIONS DO TO BUILD INTERDISCIPLINARY CAPACITY? 34 Diana Rhoten, 2009

35 Structural Possibilities Stability (40-50) with subgroups (10-15 researchers), some flux (<5 yrs), resources, diversity Rhoten, 2003  Centers Bozeman and Corley  Cross-cutting initiatives Columbia Earth Institute  Seminars/journal clubs/lunch! Hollingsworth, 2001 Committee/Vice Provost  ID Research, Education, Human Resources 35

36 36 Search and Hiring: I can't tell you how many times I have reviewed searches in which the people— predominantly women and minority-group members—were not hired, because they didn't “fit”. -Angelica Stacy, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Equity, University of California, Berkeley (2006) “Narrow position specifications also affect the applicant pool and the numbers of women hired. There is mounting evidence that women are choosing to work at the boundaries of disciplines. … As part of its diversity initiative, UCB has started to hold some full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty positions centrally to encourage groups of faculty and departments to pool resources and propose hires in new multidisciplinary research areas. The University of Wisconsin, Madison and a number of other institutions have similar central-hire or cohire programs based on a commitment to enhance interdisciplinary research. Those policies counteract the tendency of departments to hire people to fill the mainstream slots, rather than moving the institutions forward into new fields. To accomplish the latter, institutional leadership is important.” Beyond Bias and Barriers, NAS 2006: p. 5-7,8

37 CEDD 2007: Interdisciplinary Hiring, Tenure and Promotion: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions CEDD 2007: Interdisciplinary Hiring, Tenure and Promotion: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions LIFE CYCLE: Issues and recommendations Sample language (case studies) Links to resources Structural Considerations Position creation and institutional acceptance Search and hiring Junior development, mentoring and protection Dossier preparation and evaluation (3 rd, 5 th year reviews, tenure) Senior development

38 Support Multiple Levels of ID Res & Ed 38 Rhoten and Pfirman, 2007a,b “New directions” sabbaticals Course development Multiple authors, PIs Co-teaching Centers Joint majors, linked courses Research practice, applications Civic engagement Intrapersonal: Cognitive Connections Interpersonal: Collegial Connections Inter- departmental: Cross-field Connections Stakeholder: Community Connections

39 Identify Institutional Commitment to IDR Commitment and Investments ModestIntermediateSignificant Students and Curriculum Minor, Gen Ed. Option Concentration, Special Major Major, Gen Ed Req. AdministrationCommitteeCenter, ProgramInterdisciplinary Department FacultyAffiliated Hire in Disciplinary Department, Adjunct Off-ladder, Joint Hire Tenure-track in Interdisciplinary Department Research Scientists Soft-money Support for Single or Short- term Project Multi-year Support Institution- committed Career Interdisciplinary Research Scientist Line 39

40 Recognize Issues with Joint-Appointment, Junior, Tenure-Track Hires Even if the chairs are committed and all agreements are put in writing, what happens to the junior hire when the chairs rotate off?  Burden on junior hire to figure out how the units will get along Department does not feel as responsible for hires sponsored by another source as they do when they invest their own resources at the outset  “If they were really good enough, they would have been hired the regular way” 40 Art Small, III “You don’t adopt a child to sort through whether or not you want a marriage”

41 Women More Likely to Hold Joint Appointments (at UC Berkeley) Women tend to hold joint appointments in business, biology, law, city and regional planning, economics, and environmental science. In one of the newer departments, bioengineering, half of the faculty are women. When the biological sciences were restructured to include broad, multidisciplinary approaches, the proportion of women faculty increased to 50%. 41 Beyond Bias and Barriers, NAS 2006: p. 5-7,8 % STEM Faculty Holding Joint Appointments Women 1.7x Cross-Field

42 Craft Individual MOUs Drafted before the search begins Completed and signed by all for the hire letter Reviewed at each review stage Included in the tenure dossier 42

43 43 Confront the Tenure/Promotion Issue Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, 2004, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Convocation Maybe Change Tenure Criteria? Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching Boyer: Scholarship Reconsidered, Priorities of the Professoriate (1990)

44 Conclusions We have responsibilities for the people we hire and teach – need to  create a culture,  implement procedures and oversight, and  allocate and maintain resources that will allow interdisciplinary scholars and students to thrive and prosper 44


Download ppt "Making Interdisciplinarity Work Stephanie Pfirman Barnard College, Columbia University Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives Co-PI NSF Columbia Earth."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google