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Interdisciplinary studies attempt to bring together disparate areas such as English, history, and art into a common curriculum which crosses divisional boundaries. An interdisciplinary approach allows colleges to add to its course offerings without the expense of hiring new faculty, attracts new students and retains them at higher rates, provides opportunities for team teaching and faculty creativity, and overcomes faculty departmental isolation. In addition, it allows students to exercise creativity in the context of meeting broader academic goals and enriches the classroom through the broad base of knowledge and experience presented by the faculty team. Interdisciplinarism is especially timely now because of the current crisis of the humanities, in which they have become fragmented and have been called irrelevant, and is especially relevant to community colleges. Since many two-year college students do not continue with further studies, the interdisciplinary approach gives them a broad based educational experience. Despite the many positive effects of such programs, obstacles exist to their establishment, including struggles over subject matter turf and teachers' fears of having to draw on intellectual traditions outside their own. Perhaps the best approach to establishing a program is to follow the pattern of a successful effort from its inception to current operation. In the end, the benefits of establishing a program far outweigh the challenges, since it can create a community of learning between students and faculty. (Contains 46 references.) (KP)

Descriptors: Community Colleges, Core Curriculum, Curriculum Design, Curriculum Development, General Education, Humanities, Interdisciplinary Approach, Liberal Arts, Program Descriptions, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, Team Teaching, Two Year Colleges

Autor: Garbowsky, Maryanne M.


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