In 2005 Grinnell launched its Expanding Knowledge Initiative (EKI) to enhance interdisciplinary learning. Since then, the College has appointed specialists in eight interdisciplinary areas of study. It has launched a number of new interdisciplinary majors, concentrations, study themes, collaboratively-taught and other interdisciplinary courses. And it has created several new interdisciplinary centers and programs. All meet the EKI’s goal of providing students with rich, coordinated opportunities to explore significant issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives.
Since my arrival here, I have heard overwhelmingly positive testimony about the value of the EKI. And inevitably, the very success and growth of such a significant initiative has led to some questions, such as:
- How can the College, its academic departments, and its individual faculty members best balance disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching?
- Are interdisciplinary offerings “extras,” or are they central to the curriculum?
- Will departments allow some interdisciplinary courses (such as those in a concentration) to count toward major requirements?
The Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Board examines questions such as these and works to find answers that ensure Grinnell continues to be an innovative leader in interdisciplinary education in the liberal arts. I encourage any member of the College community with an interest in furthering refining and developing EKI to be in touch with the board.