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Interdisciplinary Studies and Team Teaching Resources


"When faculty co-teach, they experience intimately other styles and innovations and the various disciplinary epistemologies.
For me the IS course was a major learning event in my career.  I worked with History and Sociology.  
With two people teaching, it's easier to try new things together and evaluate.  We did field trips to a land fill and a Hunger Banquet.
I still run into former students out in the community who remember experiences from 15 years ago!"

-Elaine Abusharbain, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

What is interdisciplinary studies at SIUE?

Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) at SIUE is a course requirement for our undergraduate students and an opportunity for both students and faculty from different disciplines to explore the inter-relation of different branches of human knowledge.  Each course is defined by 

the following general characteristics:

  • They are taken by all undergraduate students in their junior or senior year
  • They must be upper-division courses in order to meet the general education requirement
  • They are team-taught (generally by two faculty from different departments)
  • They serve to reinforce and further enhance skills and abilities introduced in the Foundations courses

Interdisciplinary Studies courses grant students the opportunity to explore the inter-relation of different branches of human knowledge.Through team teaching in these courses, faculty enrich student learning by showing connections between different disciplines and demonstrating the validity of multiple modes of human inquiry.

Why should I team-teach an IS course at SIUE?

Team-teaching an IS course enables faculty from different disciplinary backgrounds to enrich their students' understanding of not only their individual disciplines, but also of the connections between the disciplines.  Further motivations to teach IS courses include:

  • They provide faculty the opportunity to build professional relationships outside of their own department or field.
  • They allow faculty to examine subject matter from a new disciplinary perspective.
  • They give faculty an opportunity to deliver a major service to students and the university by providing a critical component of the the university's curriculum.

Are there any requirements for teaching an IS course?

Each IS course is required to seek the following course goals for their students:

  • Students should gain a familiarity with terms and concepts associated with course topics and content;
  • they should show an understanding of knowledge bases and ways of knowing specific to the two or more disciplines represented in the course, and how each applies, separately and as a complement to the other, to the common problems, themes, or issues of course topic(s);
  • and, finally, students must show proficiency with the skills of information literacy, analytical reading and writing, and critical thinking, within the context of the course and its disciplines.

The last of the above requirements is intended to develop the skills and abilities learned in the Foundations courses, but its actual implementation will vary depending upon the disciplines of the instructors and the content of the course.

Beyond the required course goals, the following requirements additionally promote the student learning outcomes of the IS course:

  • Each IS course has an enrollment cap of 25 students per instructor, to ensure that adequate attention can be provided to addressing student skill proficiency with appropriate activities and assignments;
  • instructors of an IS course will typically come from different, complementary departments, to buttress the intent of the IS requirement by promoting interaction and integration of distinct disciplines;
  • and, generally, it is expected that at least one of the instructors will come from a traditional liberal arts and sciences discipline.

Where can I find general information about IS courses at SIUE (e.g., current listings or forms to propose new courses)?

Additional general information about IS courses can be found on the left navigation bar of SIUE's 

general education home page:  www.siue.edu/generaleducation/

Additional resources can be found below:

Sample Syllabi from SIUE faculty:

Sample Syllabi from Other Institutions:

MWM On-Demand Videos:

Is Team Teaching Right for Me?

To access the video below, you will need to log into your mentorcommons account BEFORE CLICKING THE LINK BELOW.

Don't have a mentorcommons account?  Visit this page for instructions to get access.

Team Teaching Resources:


Relevant Citations:

  • Klein, J. T. (2010). Creating interdisciplinary campus cultures: A model for strength and sustainability. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass (available through I-Share library catalog)
  • Klein, J. T. (2005). Humanities, culture, and interdisciplinarity: The changing American academy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (available through I-Share library catalog)
  • Michaelsen, L., Knight, A., & Fink, L. D. (Eds.), (2004). Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groups in college teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  • Bess, J. L. (2000). Integrating autonomous professionals through team teaching. In J.L. Bess (Ed.), Teaching alone, teaching together,: transforming the structure of teams for teaching (pp. 203-235). San Fransisco CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Robinson, B., & Schaible, R. M. (1995). Collaborative teaching: Reaping the benefits. College Teaching 43(2), 57-59. (available through Lovejoy Library's online journal databases)
  • Buckley, F.J. (1999). Team teaching: what, why, and how? Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.
  • Cross, K. P., & Steadman, M. H. (1991). Classroom research: implementing the scholarship of teaching. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass
  • Davis, J. R. (1997). Interdisciplinary courses and team teaching. Phoenix American Council on Education, Oryx Press Series on Higher Education.
  • Eisen, M.J., & Tisdell, E.J. (2000). Team teaching and learning in adult education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, No. 87. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
  • Goodsell, A.S., Maher, M.R., Tinto, V., Smith, B.L., & MacGregor, J. (1992). Collaborative Learning: A sourcebook for higher education. University Park: PA: National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
  • Watkins, K., & Caffarella, R. (1999). Team teaching: face to face and on-line. Presentation given at Commission of Professors of Adult Learning Meeting. San Antonio, TX.
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