Interdisciplinary Strategies as Transformative Change in Higher Education


Using data collected through case studies of 21 research universities in the United States, I reviewed the efforts institutions are undertaking to meet the growing demand for interdisciplinary knowledge. I adopted the framework of transformative change, where change occurs over time and brings important shifts in the way an institution views itself. Findings indicated that implementing interdisciplinary initiatives is accomplished not only through changes in how institutional work is organized and the facilities in which the work is carried out, but also through concurrent shifts in the institutional culture related to interdisciplinary endeavors.

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Correspondence to Karri A. Holley.

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Karri A. Holley

is Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Alabama. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include interdisciplinarity, graduate education, and qualitative inquiry.

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Holley, K.A. Interdisciplinary Strategies as Transformative Change in Higher Education. Innov High Educ 34, 331 (2009).

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Key words

  • interdisciplinarity
  • organizational theory
  • organizational change