Collaborative nature of Brooks programs leads to reorganization

September 5, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 1)
Article by Michele Coffill

four students work on an activity with paper at a table

Students in Becky Williams's class, Introduction to Social Change, work on an activity with clay September 5. Degree and certificate programs within Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies have been reorganized into the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Williams is an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies.

Photo Credit: Amanda Pitts

All academic degree and certificate programs housed within Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies have been reorganized into the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS).

Dean Mark Schaub said the collaborative nature of the academic programs helped facilitate the reorganization process. SIS houses six degree programs and nine minors, four certificate or badge programs, and the US- and IDS-prefix courses.

"What all these programs share, besides a commitment to marshaling multiple disciplines in unique ways, is to approach the big problems facing the world and humanity and use whatever means (and disciplines) to address those problems in an equitable and just manner," Schaub said.

Jack Mangala, professor of interdisciplinary studies and political science, serves as director of SIS; Justin Pettibone, senior affiliate faculty member, is the assistant director.

Mangala said students who are majoring in an SIS program will see advantages as clusters of academic programs are grouped together.

"We are able to build more bridges between the majors in terms of the curriculum and extra-curricular activities," Mangala said. "By balancing out the responsibilities between the SIS main office and the cluster programs, the reorganization enables the latter to focus on what matters the most: the students and the curriculum."

Schaub said talks about reorganization within Brooks began three years ago, starting as discussions to break down silos.

"If there’s a place in higher education where we work as interdisciplinary teacher-scholars, it should be in a college dedicated to interdisciplinary learning," Schaub said.


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This article was last edited on September 5, 2023 at 9:25 a.m.

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