Prof. Rich Wallace Presents Research on Interdisciplinarity

Dr. Richard Wallace of the Department of Environmental Studies and his frequent collaborator, Dr. Susan Clark of Yale University, are running a symposium at the annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences in June in Pittsburgh.

Interdisciplinarity is everywhere – or at least the claim of it is. But what does it really mean to the people who self-identify with the term? What is its history? What are the prospects for its future application in higher education and applied problem solving? Dr. Wallace and Dr. Clark address these issues in their symposium, which is titled “Interdisciplinarity: A Concept in Search of Guidelines and Practicality.” It will include the unveiling of results of research conducted by Drs. Clark and Wallace, with Dr. David Mattson (Yale) on perceptions of interdisciplinarity among students and faculty in environmental studies. The national study was conducted by survey this past winter. Complementing the presentation of that research will be Dr. Wallace’s talk on the history of interdisciplinarity in higher education and its influence on the formation of the field of environmental studies (the subject of his current book manuscript) and a presentation by Dr. Clark on the formative challenges of undertaking substantive interdisciplinary practice.

Dr. Wallace and Dr. Clark have been collaborating for more than 20 years on the application of interdisciplinary problem solving methods to various complex challenges in the environmental realm. They have published more than two dozen papers together and run numerous workshops and symposia for academic and other professional audiences.