Interdisciplinary programs

We have received a number of questions about the completion of templates for interdisciplinary programs, and in this message we are providing some general advice on this topic.

Given the way central university information is organized, we thought it necessary to assign interdisciplinary programs to a “home” unit, in order to make it clear which unit is responsible for completing the template. The centrally-provided data permit the “home” department to calculate its contribution to the interdisciplinary program and enter the results on the template.

Since it is part of the nature of interdisciplinary programs that other units will also be participating in the program, it is expected that those completing the template on behalf of the home department will attempt to estimate the contribution of resources made to the program by those participating units. It may be necessary to consult with the participating units, or it may be that the home unit is already in possession of the information that will allow such an estimation to be made. Question 7.2 in the template is one place where a comment can be made about the resources available to the program other than those provided by the home unit, and the discursive responses to other questions in the template can also provide insight into the involvement of other units in the program as part of what makes it distinct or valuable.

We acknowledge that there are challenges associated with presenting a complete picture of the characteristics of interdisciplinary programs, but we are confident that it will be possible for the task force to gain a sense of the scope and nature of interdisciplinary programs from the final templates.

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