Message from the Director

"I'm so excited!"

is an exclamation we hear frequently in Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS). I share the excitement and am grateful to be involved with students, staff, and faculty actively collaborating to design curricula for some of this generation's most altruistic, intellectually curious, and creative students.

The INDS website features several of these students and alumni, and I hope you will take the time to read their stories or send in your own if you have something you would like to share.

This year INDS was fortunate to have two distinguished national leaders in Interdisciplinary Studies, Dr. James Hall and Dr. Karen Moranski, participate in our Academic Program Review. For their visit, we prepared a 337-page document containing a variety of data and analyses collected over the past seven years. Their final report identified INDS as "an exemplary representation of the image that UMBC wants to project as a "Honors University in Maryland."
Highlights included our continued exceptional graduation rate of over 90% with 39% receiving Summa, Magna or Cum Laude honors. The number of INDS majors grew by 20%, and the average number of credits in the major increased from 54 to 62. We implemented a new core curriculum with a writing intensive Ways of Knowing course and added the oral Capstone Project Presentations.

The Reviewers commended the new curriculum, the intensive advising, and cited "unanimous praise of the quality of instruction [students] encountered with the unit". They also quoted students who describe INDS as a "refuge," a family environment" and a "safe-place to explore…one's passions and interests." Acknowledging the variety of initiatives INDS has already taken to share interdisciplinarity throughout the campus, they urged us to take a leadership role in the "continued consideration and development of interdisciplinary teaching, research and engagement practices."

They concluded their report by saying:

There is, arguably, no institution in the country better able to
activate the potential of interdisciplinary and individualized
undergraduate education than UMBC.

Thanks to all who helped with this Review and to all who continue to share new visions and exciting pathways toward different ways of learning and understanding.

Gratefully,


Patricia La Noue
Director, Interdisciplinary Studies