Learning to integrate across the natural and social sciences
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The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) supports the synthesis of information, models, theories, and approaches from the biophysical and social sciences to understand environmental challenges and inform solutions. An essential skill for effective socio-environmental synthesis is the integration of information and knowledge from the diverse disciplines and stakeholder domains that inform environmental challenges. Three SESYNC funded projects have addressed the educational challenges of developing integration skills in undergraduate and graduate students and have presented early results in this volume. Two of the projects use model-based reasoning and external representations of a study system to foster increased integration, but apply those strategies to different objectives and student populations. One project is developing programmatic goals to increase the cross-disciplinary skills of students in ecology graduate programs. We introduce these projects and the program that funded their research and very briefly summarize some of their conclusions.
KeywordsSocio-environmental synthesis Interdisciplinary education Transdisciplinary education Environmental sciences Model-based reasoning Translational ecology
SESYNC is funded by an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation DBI-1052875.