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Research in Higher Education Journal


As the interconnectedness of the world grows, the need to prepare college students capable of addressing complexity likewise grows. In this context, the University of Dayton has developed and tested a transdisciplinary model for education. This model links multiple classes from different disciplines via a common theme and within a common space. It also employs an educational model premised on the following trajectory: disciplinary content development / transdisciplinary observation (empathy); transdisciplinary disruption leading to “A-Ha” observations which transform the disciplinary directions; and lastly transdisciplinary informed design and research. Central to this model is a 3,500 square foot common space used only by the classes participating in the experience. In this space classes share their reflections and content with other classes via both personal linkages and analog communications. The other classes respond to these from their disciplinary and personal perspectives. Thirteen classes, fourteen faculty, and over three-hundred students participated in a themed experience centered on the addiction crisis in Dayton, Ohio. Participants included faculty in applied creativity, engineering, health and sport science, education, theater, and religious studies. Also serving as co-teacher were community stakeholders. Assessment of the experience revealed variable student takeaways. Most prominent among these was student recognition that the experience had expanded their perspectives of the other disciplines. Most suggested that it had improved their ability to collaborate in a transdisciplinary environment and that it had significantly impacted their career aspirations. Fewer acknowledged the experience had improved their ability to create.



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Document is available through the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY); the source publication is an open-access publication.

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Academic and Business Research Institute



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