The Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching (IIT) Fellowship is a program organized and run by James Madison College, the residential liberal arts college at Michigan State. Graduate students from all colleges and departments within the university are eligible to apply, and 6-8 students are selected every year.
The fellowship serves a multitude of purposes:
Investigate "interdisciplinary theory and history, pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge" through reading and discussion of academic materials
Collaboratively share experiences of research and teaching within the fellow's individual discipline in order to further knowledge across often isolated fields of study through conversation and shared readings
Complete and share a teaching project under the guidance of a James Madison College faculty mentor that is specific to the goals of the fellow
Julie Thompson Klein, "A Taxonomy of Interdisciplinarity," in Robert Frodeman et al., The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (New York: Oxford UP, 2010), 15-28
Lisa R. Lattuca et al., "Does Interdisciplinarity Promote Learning?" The Review of Higher Education (2004) 28.1: 23-48
Veronica Boix Mansilla and Elizabeth Dawes Duraisingh, "Targeted Assessment of Students' Interdisciplinary Work: An Empirically Grounded Framework Proposed," Journal of Higher Education 80, no. 3 (2009) 334-353
For a full summary of the fellowship requirements and list of readings, view the 2021-2022 syllabus here.
My Teaching Project
I completed my teaching and learning project under the guidance of sociologist Gene Burns, James Madison College faculty and author of The Moral Veto: Framing Contraception, Abortion, and Cultural Pluralism in the United States (Cambridge UP, 2010).
For my project, I created a web-based platform to house my syllabus info as well as an interdisciplinary writing assignment for a course that I have experience teaching, EC202 - Introduction to Macroeconomics. I have two primary aims for this project:
Move the syllabus to an online platform to encourage students to engage with the information, under the assumption that modern digital-native students find a website more compelling than a multi-page word document.
Encourage students to explore multidisciplinary perspectives on common topics in the introductory economics curriculum by writing an essay that integrates knowledge from economics and other fields.
Aim 2 represents the bulk of my teaching project. I identify five topics from my introductory macroeconomics curriculum that have interesting interactions with other disciplines. For each, I provide a set of resources (articles, videos, podcasts, etc) that represent alternative perspectives on the topic. I then ask each student to write an essay answering a reflection question that requires them to successfully integrate knowledge from economics and one of the alternative disciplines.
You can find the website, which contains example syllabus info from Spring 2022 and the writing assignment resources, here: https://sites.google.com/view/gardnerec202/home
Navigate to the "Interdisciplinary Writing Assignment" section to explore the nature of the assignment and access the materials for alternative disciplinary perspectives on topics in economics. Below are links from the site to the topics available as essay subjects.