Taking the interdisciplinary path is not easy, but universities can boost interaction between researchers and departments through social spaces that foster collegiality. The very nature of academia resists interdisciplinarity, says Elizabeth Dzeng. Is it time Universities paid more than lip service to this concept?
We are trained to become experts on the most minute aspects of our subject and are chastised for being too broadly focused or having too many interests. As Simon Goldhill, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) states, “we have people who know more and more about less and less. That’s the definition of a Ph.D., isn’t it?” This intense specialization prevents us from seeing the forest among the trees. So it is completely unsurprising that cross-disciplinary efforts and inter-departmental initiatives often fail and do not go beyond initial superficial connections.