[This video blog interviews Dr. Joseph Bonnici, College of Business Professor at Central Connecticut State University and Dr. MeHee Hyun, Professor of Liberal Studies at Antioch University. The discussion introduces multiple discipline conferences and how faculty can benefit from them to increase their competitiveness and effectiveness.]
Before jumping right into the multi-disciplinary discussion, let’s take a look at what inspired me to research the issue. I have recently established a university Publish or Perish club (PPC) to generate a culture of research and student publication. Student members benefit from and prefer using collaborative models to co-author their publications. Because the club is open to all university students including diverse backgrounds, grade levels, and research interests, students are reporting an increase in their writing quality and creativity. The PPC’s multidimensional matrix of complimentary academic interests has inspired robust research through cross-discipline and cross-department communication. Partnerships amongst the colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Student Affairs, the Diversity Center, and the Recreation center are just a few examples. Students range from incoming freshmen to graduating PhD students and have shared that they benefit from working together.
This successful premise of cross-discipline collaborative student networking is transferable into faculty networks. (Do you see where I’m heading?) Where does faculty go to share their research and learn about new research? Traditionally, they attend single-discipline academic conferences; but increasing trends of multiple academic disciplines have recreated higher education conferences. For example, today I attended the 2012: International Conference for Academic Disciplines in Las Vegas, NV. It is hosted by the International Journal of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The journal believes that the conference’s enriched culture of international perspective and academic frames provide faculty with a more robust conference experience. Today’s multiple discipline conference and networking structure has inspired many new ideas. For example, Dr. Donald Noone, Division of Business Professor at Caldwell College, introduced the benefits of Transformative Learning Protocols. Even though the idea came from a business presentation, I can use the concept by customizing the model to fit my specific instructional objectives.
Complimentary research and expertise beyond a single discipline can contribute to a more dynamic research perspective. Like the PPC, multiple discipline partnerships can offer faculty diverse research perspective that applies to their professional interest. Isn’t this concept of blending and pairing complimentary disciplines what institutions like Harvard have done while creating their newer PhD programs? (Discipline-Plus Model)
Single-discipline conferences are beneficial by providing narrow, specific, and in-depth discussions on a related topic. Multi-discipline conferences reflect a matrix of complimentary research interests and scholars with a common publishing goal. These inclusive teams reach a wider audience through unbridled creative innovation. National and international 21st century conferences help encourage co-author publication, increase educational leadership networks amongst a variety of disciplines, promotes a global culture of collaboration, and increases faculty recognition; thus increasing faculty’s competitive and professional value. Make connections outside of your current circle and expand your scope of expertise by attending a multiple discipline conference. Let me know how it helps you become more competitive in higher education.