Strategy 14: Interdisciplinary Education

Facilitate the development of integrative, problem-focused learning

We are further developing academic structures that foster and support opportunities for students from different perspectives and disciplines to work together on complex or emergent problems. Students develop expert thinking faster when they are given well-designed opportunities to integrate concepts they have learned across several courses to tackle new, larger issues and problems. When students across a range of programs work together, the result is a rich, high-level learning experience that builds expertise in ways no individual, discipline-based course can achieve. The Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) program is an example of this approach: it engages students across the university in project work that tackles real-life issues such as waste management and the opioid crisis. UBC is piloting and assessing new ways to integrate problem-focussed educational opportunities as an overlay or complement to traditional majors and minors. We are also optimizing structures to allow integrative graduate and postdoctoral learning to flourish. In this way, we are working toward a day when UBC students graduate with disciplinary expertise and experiences and skills that address their passion for a specific topic or challenge.