The University Record, March 18, 1998

30 to participate in Rackham interdisciplinary program this summer

By Jane R. ElgassTwenty faculty members and 10 graduate students have been selected to participate in the Rackham Summer Interdisciplinary Institute. One of several initiatives at the Graduate School designed to further campus discussions about interdisciplinary activities, the Institute "provides a forum for faculty and students to engage in an intensive intellectual dialogue about a wide range of topics in interdisciplinarity," says Dean Earl Lewis.

The Institute is co-directed by June Howard, associate professor of English, of American culture and of women's studies, and John Laird, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Goals of the five-week (June 1-July 2) program include:

  • Examining the connections between the intellectual and institutional challenges to interdisciplinarity.
  • Enhancing graduate interdisciplinary teaching and research.
  • Creating a context for the exploration of pedagogical approaches, methods and tools in interdisciplinary work.
  • Developing databases, bibliographies and materials that support interdisciplinary teaching and research.

    With more than 140 applications submitted for the 30 spots, "consideration was awarded to those who demonstrated an overwhelming interest in engaging in discussions on interdisciplinarity," Lewis says. "This also ensured representation from different fields.

    "The range and scope of the applications," Lewis adds, "demonstrated the exceptional interdisciplinary work, both formal and informal, already being conducted by faculty and graduate students."

    The 20 faculty fellows and their academic disciplines are:

    Aaron Ahuvia, business (marketing); Frances R. Aparicio, Romance languages and American culture; Stacy Bike, chemical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering; David Blair, business (computer and information systems);

    Carol Boyd, nursing and women's studies; Elizabeth Brabec, natural resources; Santiago Colas, Spanish and Latin American literature and comparative literature; Geoff Eley, history;

    Fatma Muge Gocek, sociology and women's studies; Sherrie Kossoudji, social work and economics; Lemuel Johnson, English; Joanne Leonard, art and design and women's studies;

    Franco Nori, complex systems and physics; Geneva Omann, surgery and biological chemistry; Mary Simoni, music technology; Pat Simons, history of art and women's studies;

    Peter Sparling, dance; Sharon Stephens, anthropology and social work; Valerie Traub, English and women's studies; and David Winter, psychology.

    Graduate student fellows are:

    Suzanne Black, comparative literature; Susan Chimonas, sociology; Heather Heying, biology; Erica Lehrer, anthropology; Enid Logan, sociology;

    Jonathan Metzl, American culture; Anna Rhoades, biophysics; Hideaki Sano, natural resources and law; David Schwartz, psychology; and Monica Spisar, biomedical engineering.