Logging Co-Teaching Credit in Banner

Getting credit for co-teaching or co-advising is a persistent challenge for university faculty members involved in interdisciplinary work. Even when you split a project 50-50 with a collaborator, both of you spend more than half of the time you’d spend on a solo project coordinating, communicating, and building consensus across disciplinary norms. This is certainly a “wicked” problem that is in need of a long-term, interdisciplinary solution. In the mean time, I wanted to post instructions for logging co-teaching credit as percentages in the Banner system that Virginia Tech uses. These instructions are courtesy of Renee Selberg-Eaton, Undergraduate Program Director and Instructor in VT’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise:

1.       Banner screen: SZASECD

2.       Enter the term and CRN for the course.  (Example: 201401 CRN 20005)

3.       Next Block to Meeting Times and Instructor

4.       Click in the ID box for the first instructor and enter their ID number if it’s not already entered.

5.       Tab over and change the “Percent Responsibility” to whatever the percentage is going to be.  This is the part you have to do first otherwise it won’t work.

6.       Then change the “Percent of Session” to match the Percent Responsibility.

7.       If the person on the first line is the primary instructor and should be the one showing on the timetable and who also must enter grades, check the “Primary Indicator”.  I have learned that the instructors who are not primary cannot enter grades.

8.       Go to the ID box in the second line and add the next person using the same steps.  When you save it the percentages have to equal 100 or it won’t save.



Science Editorial on the Importance of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education

AAAS President Phillip A. Sharp of MIT and Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS and Executive Publisher of Science recently coauthored an editorial in Science about the importance of interdisciplinary graduate education. The authors say, “Education and training programs must be developed in what has come to be called “convergence science”: the integration of life, physical, and engineering sciences, so that S&T practitioners have a knowledge and experience base to participate in the kinds of integrated scientific efforts that are needed.” They also call universities to change their policies to support and reward interdisciplinary training and research. Not too much detail, but it’s great to know this is a priority at some of the highest levels.

Thanks goes to John McDowell of the Translational Plant Science IGEP for sending me this link.

Publication Opportunity – Journal Special Issue

If your interdisciplinary expertise is anywhere in the neighborhood of decision sciences, management or engineering, then you should consider submitting to this special issue of Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education on Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Practices. This could be a great opportunity to share the details of how you work in a team to train graduate students to be better interdisciplinary researchers. Note the topics are wide open and include curriculum development, faculty development and the need for interdisciplinary training.

Call for Papers

Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education: Special Issue on ‘Educational Innovation and Reform in the Decision Sciences Using Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Practices’ (Educational Innovation and Reform in the Decision Sciences Using Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Practices)

Guest Editors: Nebil Buyurgan, Mary Meixell, Quinnipiac University

Motivation and Background

As business practices evolve and become increasingly integrated, the boundaries between disciplines fade. As such, multiple perspectives in education become essential to adequately prepare students for the workforce, and to achieve the curricular integration that is becoming increasingly common in both business and engineering programs. Multidisciplinary education is the practice of using the approaches and methods of two or more disciplines in curriculum design, pedagogy development, and course delivery. Similarly, collaborative education refers to educational endeavors that employ instructors and students from multiple disciplines. Both approaches bring together faculty and students with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints to provide rich learning experiences.  They also provide opportunities for instructors to see their disciplines from fresh perspectives, which may enhance teaching and learning.

Multidisciplinary education in the decision sciences can take on different forms. For example, it can involve closely related fields such as marketing and management, related but distinct disciplines such as entrepreneurship and engineering, or offer integration with general education topics. It can also involve different modalities. For example, technologies such as ERP and simulation, experiential approaches such as service learning, and pedagogies such as inquiry based learning or team teaching, can all be used to offer deliver diverse educational experiences that cross traditional discipline based boundaries.

This special issue solicits submissions that offer new insights or innovations in multidisciplinary or collaborative education in the decision sciences. Submissions are sought that not only explore boundary spanning initiatives within the domain of business, but those that involve other domains such as engineering, health sciences, communication, and general education. Topics of interest include but are not limited to

•         The importance of multidisciplinary and collaborative education within and across disciplines

•         Student perceptions of and attitudes to multidisciplinary education

•         Educational models, methods, and pedagogies for effective, innovative multidisciplinary education

•         Curriculum development, course objectives, learning goals and assessment

•         Developing and effectively using technology in multidisciplinary education

•         Faculty issues, i.e., instructor development, faculty evaluation

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2014

DSJIE is a peer reviewed publication of the Decision Sciences Institute. Its mission is to publish significant research relevant to teaching, learning, and education in the decision sciences – quantitative and behavioral approaches to managerial decision making. For more details visit www.dsjie.org.

On Job Prospects for Interdisciplinary PhDs

A pair of studies were recently released that analyzed national Survey of Earned Doctorates data to discern employment patterns of PhDs with interdisciplinary dissertation topics. The survey form now allows students to identify a primary and secondary field, (“If your dissertation was interdisciplinary, list the name and number of your secondary field”) which researchers have been using as a proxy for interdisciplinary research.

The Cornell study (Kniffin & Hanks) looked at PhDs graduating in 2010. The report, which has not been peer reviewed or published in a archival source as of yet, has gotten picked up by a variety of blogs and email listservs because of potentially dramatic and negative findings. The headline that “interdisciplinary PhDs earn less” is prompted by an average $1,700 annual salary difference between the two groups– a small difference in relation to the $5000 ranges used to bin and collect the salary data. More curiously, they found that students whose fathers had earned a college degree were slightly more likely to name a secondary field, and that non-citizens were more likely than U.S. citizens to pursue interdisciplinary research (4.7% higher probability). (Can you tell I am skeptical of this study?)

Millar’s findings were peer reviewed, much more promising, and thus less likely to be featured on blog sites. She compared two sets of PhD graduates: from 2004-2007 and 2008. She found that interdisciplinary PhDs were more likely than disciplinary PhDs to find employment in academia (the odds are 26% higher), and that the type of dissertation has no statistically significant effect on the type of position (post-doc, tenure-track, etc.). Related to this, students with interdisciplinary dissertations have more publications. This can be partly explained by the type of employment because publications are more highly valued in academia, so graduates working in academia and those pursing an academic career path would tend to focus on those.

Finally, an evaluation of NSF’s IGERT program compared a set of IGERT graduates to a comparison group of graduates without formal interdisciplinary training. The study found that IGERT students graduated in less time on average (5.63 vs. 6.04 years), considered fewer different employment sectors on average (2.39 vs. 2.10), were more positive in self-reports of how well their training prepared them for faculty positions, and self-reported less difficulty in finding postgraduate employment.

So what’s the answer? Is it worth doing an interdisciplinary PhD? Are you taking a big career risk?

Field Guide to Collaboration and Team Science

Are you dealing with some of the stickier aspects of interdisciplinary collaboration? Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide was written “to help researchers navigate some of the rocky and murky territory associated with building a team.” One of the coauthors, Dr. Michelle Bennett, will be hosted on campus by the Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society on February 27, 2014, as part of their IDR Day festivities. The authors include two ombudsmen and a deputy scientific director at the National Institutes of Health, so it comes from both conflict-resolution and experienced scientific collaborator perspectives.  I was reminded of this great resource by Ennis McCreary of the Office of the Graduate Student Ombudsperson here at Virginia Tech– please consider enlisting her services if you need to work through a specific challenge related to interdisciplinary collaboration with VT graduate students. You can also visit her blog about “navigating graduate-school relationships, politics, and pressures.”

Upcoming webcast of National Academies team science meeting

The National Research Council of the National Academies is conducting a consensus study on Team Science that will eventually result in the type of report (book) that we usually see from National Academies Press. But they are still in the planning and information-gathering stages. This coming Thursday, October 24, they are hosting a meeting with nationally-renowned speakers on the organizational and policy issues for supporting team science (which often means interdisciplinary research). I attended the previous meeting on July 1, and learned so much about cutting-edge research informing interdisciplinary teams in one day! The good news is, the Thursday meeting will be webcast, and the prior meeting has been archived. This is a great source for getting up to speed on what the research says about team science, as well as great ideas for guest speakers and panelists for upcoming events.

Seriously Interdisciplinary Graduate Education

Friday morning, I attended a really interesting talk and discussion by Matt Wisnioski about his seminar, STS 6614: The Origins of Innovation. The talk was part of a series sponsored by ICAT, the Institute for Creativity, the Arts and Technology at VT. The course was designed for one of our newest IGEPs, Human Centered Design. HCD and the others are really hitting the ground running since being notified of their funding last spring– this course has a healthy enrollment of graduate students from disciplines including science and technology studies, mechanical engineering, computer science, and visual arts (I’m most certainly forgetting some- help me out by commenting more details!) who want to explore what it means to be innovative, past, present and future. Matt showed some great videos his students produced to explain their course readings, and he described how the students’ backgrounds and interests shape the direction of the course. It was a great opportunity to visit ICAT’s studio space and see some aspects of what the HCD IGEP has in store for their students.

Enhancing Communication & Collaboration in Interdisciplinary Research

A great new resource for interdisciplinary research and education was recently published. Enhancing Communication & Collaboration in Interdisciplinary Research (2013, Sage) is edited by Michael O’Rourke, Stephen Crowley, Sanford D. Eigenbrode, and J. D. Wulfhorst. This is the team responsible for developing the Toolbox workshops for interdisciplinary teams to discuss their assumptions and approaches to research. (Drs. O’Rourke and Crowley visited Virginia Tech last fall to offer a Toolbox workshop.) This project also hosted an intellectually stimulating conference in 2010 that started to bring together interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners from a wide variety of fields to learn from each other about studying and improving communication in interdisciplinary collaborations: philosophers, educational researchers, interdisciplinary scientists, information scientists, and health promotion professionals, to name a few. The volume comprises 18 chapters that run the gamut from think pieces through research studies and descriptions of successful interdisciplinary communication interventions. The authors are leaders in the emerging fields of integration sciences and the science of team science as well as researchers and administrators at universities and at government agencies including National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

The chapter that I coauthored focuses on the impact on host institutions of 15 years of NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program (IGERT) grants. Over the years, Virginia Tech has been awarded 5 IGERT grants. The chapter uses interviews with deans, IGERT directors, and other faculty members to describe how a focus on enabling graduate students to pursue interdisciplinary research topics actually paves the way for interdisciplinary research to become more accepted across the institution. When IGERT first started in 1998, these multimillion-dollar grants legitimized interdisciplinary research and raised its profile on campus. The faculty directing IGERT programs became advocates and experts for interdisciplinary research on their campuses, sometimes being invited to serve on special advisory boards to the president of the institution. At institutions with multiple IGERTs, the faculty could band together to advocate for changes to policies that would enable graduate students to work across departments and colleges with multiple advisors and stable funding. These improvements to graduate policies were perhaps predictable, but there is also strong evidence that policy and cultural changes extended to the faculty, in terms of new hires in interdisciplinary areas and systems to support pretenure faculty whose scholarship is interdisciplinary.