About the project

Purpose and goals

The aim of the project "Interdisciplinary education" was to strengthen the interdisciplinary teaching and education at UCPH. This project wanted to generate conditions for students to experience coherent interdisciplinary teaching and education and at the same time develop interdisciplinary competences.

The goals were:

  • To contribute to a clarification of key concepts on interdisciplinarity across UCPH
  • To develop cross curricular pedagogies, which can be used to plan and conduct interdisciplinary teaching and education
  • To identify main components in theory of knowledge in interdisciplinarity that can be used to plan and conduct interdisciplinary teaching and education
  • To develop didactic tools, courses and consultancy services to support educators, course managers and heads of studies as they are to plan and conduct interdisciplinary teaching and education

Key Findings

  1. Any interdisciplinary education / teaching must be closely linked to an interdisciplinary research environment. If the education is offered from research communities that are separate from each other, it is crucial that they also build cross-cutting research activities that can support the education.
  2. Teachers from a mono-disciplinary culture must be offered support functions when they are to participate in interdisciplinary education / teaching. There is a need for pedagogical didactic continuing education focusing on teaching methods that support coherence. Teachers with different academic backgrounds must become aware of communicating across disciplines.
  3. It is not always clear for students from mono-disciplinary how interdisciplinary education contributes to their professional development, i.e. they do not see the relevance or need for interdisciplinary learning. They often lack interdisciplinary communication skills
  4. Interdisciplinary teaching and education can be many different things, and different forms of interdisciplinarity may be relevant depending on the purpose. It is important to declare what kind of interdisciplinarity it is and what the purpose is, so expectations can be reconciled.
  5. In order to ensure continuous development of interdisciplinary education, it is crucial to involve the students. The students are often innovators and play a particular role in developing the interdisciplinary aspect of the programs.
  6. It is important for organizational embedding of acquired experience and understanding of interdisciplinary skills. The department will build up knowledge and resources that can ensure good conditions for interdisciplinary education and the development of interdisciplinary education. This implies that the experience gained with interdisciplinary education is collected and widely systematically. This can happen, for example, by the educational centers having special resource subjects for interdisciplinary skills.
  7. The administrative framework must be able to support interdisciplinary education. Interdisciplinary teaching is for example administratively associated with the use of significant resources, including meeting activity, examination rules, curricula, and to harmonize with different faculty budget models.

Organization

The project was organized so that it contributed to coordination and cooperation between the framework project (A) and the subprojects (B – J). Furthermore, the project organization consolidated the project’s anchoring at UCPH.

Organization diagramme

The project management was anchored at Department of Science Education at the Faculty of Science and is handled by, professor Jens Dolin, assisted by consultant Christine Holm. UCPH's Academic Board on Education Strategy (KUUR) worked as the steering committee of the project, and the project refered to Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science, Grete Bertelsen.

As part of the framework project (A), a working group was established to carry out the activities in the project. The project management was also a part of this group.

The project management met regularly with the project managers of the subprojects to discuss and coordinate input to and from the subprojects. Furthermore, professional seminars were held to discuss academic perspectives on cross-disciplinarity. These seminars were attended by the project managers, project participants and other actors who were involved in the project.

The University Teaching Coordination Group

The University Teaching Coordination group, which consists of the managers of the three pedagogical units at UCPH and the Vice Provost for Education, Anni Søborg, acted as an advisory unit for the project. It was also co-responsible for the embedding of the project into the faculties.

The Advisory Board

An advisory board contributed with expert knowledge on developing interdisciplinary education, initiatives, recommendations, input, and critical issues to the project, and furthermore strengthened the project's anchoring in the organization. The reference group consisted of the following members:

  • Hanne Leth Andersen, Professor, Rector, Roskilde University
  • Anders Blok, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen
  • Søren Harnow Clausen, Professor, Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark
  • Stine Lomborg, Associate Professor, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen
  • Laura Meagher, Ph.D., Senior Partner, Technology Development Group, Scotland
  • Hanne Petersen, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen
  • Sofie Gro Holde, student, University of Copenhagen
  • Henrik Hansen, Professor, Head of studies, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen
  • David Budtz Pedersen, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Aalborg University

Timeline

The project ran from October 1, 2013 until June 2017. It was organized as a framework project (A), which followed and analyzed a series of independent subprojects (B-J). The framework project was carried out via input to and from the subprojects. The framework project consisted of four parts. Below you will find a timeline of the framework project.

Time line