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Disasters are becoming more frequent as the global climate changes, and recovery efforts require the cooperation and collaboration of experts and community members across disciplines. The DRRM program, funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT), is an interdisciplinary graduate program that brings together faculty and graduate students from across the university to develop new, transdisciplinary ways of solving disaster-related issues. The core team includes faculty from business, engineering, education, science, and urban planning fields. The overall objective of the program is to create a community of practice amongst the graduate students and faculty to improve understanding and support proactive decision-making related to disasters and disaster management. The specific educational objectives of the program are (1) context mastery and community building, (2) transdisciplinary integration and professional development, and (3) transdisciplinary research. The program’s educational research and assessment activities include program development, trainee learning and development, programmatic educational research, and institutional transformation. The program is now in its fourth year of student enrollment. Core courses on interdisciplinary research methods in disaster resilience are in place, engaging students in domain-specific research related to natural hazards, resilience, and recovery, and in methods of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration. In addition to courses,more »Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
Imagining the future interdisciplinary scholar: Exploring interdisciplinary identity development using possible selves.CONTEXT This exploratory study focuses on an interdisciplinary graduate program in the United Statesthat brings students from science, engineering, technology, or mathematics (STEM)programs together with students in business, policy and governance, natural resources, and other fields to address disaster resilience and risk management. Given the complexity of interdisciplinary collaboration and the need to work across disciplinary boundaries it is increasingly important to develop interdisciplinary capacity in STEM graduate students. PURPOSE OR GOAL The purpose of this exploratory study was to explore how participants conceptualize a possible identity as an interdisciplinary scholar over time in order to characterize the structural and individual factors that might prevent one from developing an interdisciplinary identity.
Assessing Interdisciplinary Competency in the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management Graduate Program using Concept MapsConcept maps have emerged as a valid and reliable method for assessing deep conceptual understanding in engineering education within disciplines as well as interdisciplinary knowledge integration across disciplines. Most work on concept maps, however, focuses on undergraduates. In this paper, we use concept maps to examine changes in graduate students’ conceptual understanding and knowledge integration resulting from an interdisciplinary graduate program. Our study context is pair of foundational, team-taught courses in an interdisciplinary Disaster Resilience and Risk Management (DRRM) graduate program. The courses include a 3-hour research course and a 1-hour seminar that aim to build student understanding within and across Urban Affairs and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geosciences, and Business Information Technology. The courses introduce core principles of DRRM and relevant research methods in these disciplines, and drive students to understand the intersections of these disciplines in the context of planning for and responding to natural and human-made disasters. To understand graduate student growth from disciplinary-based to interdisciplinary scholars, we pose the research questions: 1) In what ways do graduate students’ understandings of DRRM change as a result of their introduction to an interdisciplinary graduate research program? and 2) To what extent and in what ways do conceptmore »