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University Studies
The University of Tennessee's transdisciplinary faculty development program

The University Studies Program seeks to foster faculty development by facilitating the exploration of disciplinary boundaries and by providing for the expression of faculty excellence through a wide range of interdisciplinary activities – the only such campus-wide effort. The Program constitutes a laboratory for faculty innovation and experimentation in research, teaching, and community service.

Programs and Activities. By keeping institutionalized program functions to a minimum, University Studies is able to support the interdisciplinary activities that faculty are eager to undertake but which require institutional support. This approach contributes to a positive view of the university by helping faculty accomplish their goals. Because University Studies relies on intrinsic motivation, its use of resources is very efficient. For about one FTE salary equivalent, each year the Program supports at least six colloquies, offers about a dozen courses, brings four or five speakers to campus, and presents 8 Centripetals luncheons. In addition, we host an annual reception for second year faculty (the Overture Reception), hold a planning retreat, and gives an annual award recognizing contributions to interdisciplinary scholarship.

  • Colloquies
  • Courses
  • Speakers
  • Centripetals
  • Conferences and Special Projects
  • Recognition of Excellence
  • Planning Retreat

Faculty Development. The quality of its faculty is a crucial element in the excellence of an institution of higher education. Faculty quality depends upon a strong recruitment program and on the ongoing cultivation of a climate that encourages and supports continuing growth in its faculty. Traditionally, the primary responsibility for both recruitment and development is at the department level, which often implies an emphasis on specialized and limited disciplinary interests and a corresponding emphasis on graduate teaching and research. These emphases can obscure the importance of interdisciplinary activities in cultivating faculty excellence.

Interdisciplinarity, beyond the professional confidence faculty experience by being empowered to explore their disciplinary boundaries, many theoretical breakthroughs result when scholars examine assumptions and paradigms from other disciplines. Further, most important issues that our society and the university must address cross the arbitrary disciplinary boundaries that can fragment the University. Also, a comprehensive and integrated undergraduate curriculum requires a faculty that looks across disciplinary boundaries.

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although there are many names, the arts are not separated; and one kind of knowledge is not severed from another --Paracelsus--

University Studies Program F239 Walters Life Sciences Bldg Phone: 865-974-8177

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