Interdisciplinary scholarship needs to be normalized within professions

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Inspired by conversations I’ve had with colleagues, I wrote a recent piece in University Affairs/Affairs universitaires: “Interdisciplinary scholarship needs to be normalized within professions.”

In a nutshell, I argue the following:

In our day-to-day and year-to-year lives, administrators drive interdisciplinarity forward. They make internal funding available, facilitate the process of applying to external bodies and forging partnerships, steward funds, keep our labs running, make sure we hire in equitable ways, and crucially, through procedures such as annual reviews, our academic administrators evaluate our work based on internal metrics.

There is a moment, however, where the power of university academic administrators almost entirely disappears from the equation: tenure and promotion.

An inexperienced chair or dean might be singing the praises of a scholar for forging new interdisciplinary pathways… but at these critical moments of tenure and promotion, the power of the chair or dean recedes, and is replaced by the power of the profession. Suddenly, the dean who had been encouraging interdisciplinary research isn’t as powerful as they might have seemed.

Curious? Read the full article here!

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Ian Milligan
Associate Professor of History

Exploring how technology is transforming historical research.