Issues and Challenges inInterdisciplinaryCourse and ProgramTransfer in BCPrepared for BCCAT by Dr. Michelle RhodesJanuary 2019

Issues and Challenges inInterdisciplinaryCourse and ProgramTransfer in BCPrepared for BCCAT by Dr. Michelle Rhodes BCCAT January 2019BC COUNCIL ON ADMISSIONS & TRANSFER709 – 555 Seymour Street, Vancouver BC Canada V6B 3H6 604 412 7700 [email protected]

Table of ContentsBC TRANSFER SYSTEM MEMBER INSTITUTIONSEXECUTIVE SUMMARYPART I: BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT1Introduction1Methodology2Table 1: The Scope of the Quantitative BC Transfer Guide Data CollectionDefining InterdisciplinarityFigure 1: Spectrum of Integration for Plural Disciplinary Curricula446The Growth of Interdisciplinarity and Multidisciplinary Programs in North America7The Growth of Interdisciplinarity and Multidisciplinary Programs in BC8Table 2: Dedicated Interdisciplinary Studies Programs, Courses and Departments in BC InstitutionsA Brief Overview of Selected Interdisciplinary Programs in BC911Arts, Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies11Asian Studies11Environmental and Resource Programs11Gender/Women’s and Sexuality Studies12Global and International Studies12Indigenous/First Nations Studies12Peace and Social Justice Studies13Transfer of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary CurriculumTable 3: Anticipated Pathways for TransferPART II: PROGRAM SAMPLE AND ANALYSIS131415Course-Level Agreements15Findings and Analysis16Table 4: Count of Unique Course Transfer Articulations in the Course Transfer Sample16Figure 2: Totals for Assigned and Unassigned Credit in Interdisciplinary Course Transfer Pathways17Table 5: Interdisciplinary Course Transfer Pathways18Table 6: Interdisciplinary Credit Pathways for Langara’s ENV 2100 by Receiving Institution19Table 7: How Interdisciplinary Credits are Assessed: SFU’s REM 100 Global Change Course19Block Transfer Agreements (BTAs)20

Table 8: Block Transfer Agreements by Program Area at Institution of Origin22Table 9: Block Transfer Agreements by Program at Receiving Instiution22INSTITUTIONAL SURVEY23Figure 3: Number of Respondents by Articulation Committee24Figure 4: Institution Sector by Survey Respondents25Who Evaluates Interdisciplinary Transfer Credit?25How is Interdisciplinary Transfer Credit Assessed?26Table 10: Criteria Used in Allocating Transfer Credit for Interdisciplinary Coursesat Institutions Lacking Equivalent ProgramsWhat Plans Exist for Expanding Interdisciplinary Offerings?Table 11: Number of Responses to the Question: "Is Your Department/Area Planning to ExpandInterdisciplinary Programs in the Next 1-3 Years?272727DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS29Limitations to the Study30BCCAT’S ROLE31OPPORTUNITIES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH32CONCLUSIONS33REFERENCES34APPENDIX I: Programs and Course Designations Included in Study36APPENDIX II: Course-Level Transfer Articulations to ‘Nearest Neighbour’ Discipline37APPENDIX III: Block Transfer Agreements for Selected Programs40APPENDIX IV: Survey of Articulation Committee Members43

BC TRANSFER SYSTEM MEMBER INSTITUTIONSInstitutionCode in BCTG ListingsAlexander CollegeALEXAcsenda School of ManagementASMAthabasca UniversityAUBC Institute of TechnologyBCITCamosun CollegeCAMOCapilano UniversityCAPUCoast Mountain CollegeCMTNCollege of New CaledoniaCNCCollege of the RockiesCOTRColumbia CollegeCOLUCoquitlam CollegeCOQUCorpus Christi CollegeCCCDouglas CollegeEmily Carr University of Art and DesignFairleigh Dickinson UniversityFraser International CollegeKWANLangara CollegeLANGLaSalle College VancouverNicola Valley Institute of TechnologyNorth Island CollegeNorthern Lights CollegeRRUSelkirk CollegeSELKSimon Fraser UniversitySFUThompson Rivers University, Open LearningUniversity of Northern BCUniversity of the Fraser ValleyUniversity of VictoriaVancouver Community CollegeVancouver Island UniversityYorkville UniversityYukon CollegeInterdisciplinary Transfer in BCNICQURoyal Roads UniversityUniversity of BC – VancouverNVITOCQuest UniversityUniversity of BC – OkanaganLCVNLCOkanagan CollegeUniversity Canada WestFDUJIBCKwantlen Polytechnic UniversityTrinity Western UniversityECFICJustice Institute of BCThompson Rivers VIUYVUYUKONOTE: Non-BC Transfer System member institution referred to in this report:Columbia Bible College.BCCAT g

Issues and Challenges inInterdisciplinaryCourse and ProgramTransfer in BCExecutive SummaryInterdisciplinary programs have significantly increased in scope and scale over the past several decades, includingthose in British Columbia. The nature of these programs creates unique challenges for transfer and articulation processes that rely heavily on disciplinary expertise and review; these challenges are complicated by the fact that interdisciplinary programming varies so dramatically in type, structure, and subject matter between institutions. The resultis that students moving between institutions and into and out of interdisciplinary programs face added uncertainty inthe transfer process.This study investigated complex organizational and procedural questions related, individually, to interdisciplinarityand transfer, and collectively to interdisciplinary credit transfer and student mobility, with a goal of examining how theforces of transfer and interdisciplinarity interact.Through a review of course-level transfer patterns in seven program areas, this study found that most interdisciplinary credits will transfer as interdisciplinary credits, but often into different interdisciplinary programs; only in two of theseven program areas selected were interdisciplinary credits more commonly converted to disciplinary credits. Currentstructures for assessing interdisciplinary transfer credit requests are highly decentralized, with these courses oftenbeing sent to multiple departments and faculty before a final evaluation is made. Strategies to reduce this courseroulette are needed, although these are ultimately intra-institutional conversations.Given the complexity and diversity of interdisciplinary curricula, targeted efforts are needed to improve informationabout the criteria used by each institution in evaluating transfer credits. Evaluation of transfer credit is largely content-driven, with important consideration given to other factors, such as learning outcomes, level of instruction, andassignments and textbooks. To improve credit transfer of interdisciplinary courses, this study proposes a further shiftaway from this emphasis on content in favour of learning outcomes; implementation of effective structures to facilitateblock transfer; and more support for faculty involvement in the transfer credit evaluation process, possibly includingsupport for annual or biannual articulation meetings of representatives of general, liberal and interdisciplinary degreelevel programs.h BCCATInterdisciplinary Transfer in BC

PART I: BACKGROUND AND CONTEXTIntroductionInterdisciplinary programs have significantly increased in scope and scale over the past several decades (e.g., Katz,2001; Jacob 2013, Graff, 2015; Mody, 2017), including those in British Columbia. Indeed, Kleinberg (2008, para. 1)argues that “One could even claim that the twenty-first-century university marks the ascension of interdisciplinarity asthe dominant educational paradigm.” The Association of American Colleges and Universities (2011, para. 1) refers to“interdisciplinary learning as a 21st century imperative.” The nature of these programs creates unique challenges fortransfer and articulation processes that have relied heavily on disciplinary expertise and review.In BC, where the foundation of transfer and articulation is largely discipline to discipline, interdisciplinary courses andprograms challenge existing credit transfer assessment practices. Both because interdisciplinary curriculum can eludeeasy or clear (re)categorization into disciplinary equivalency during transfer credit evaluation, and interdisciplinaryprogramming varies so dramatically in type, structure and subject matter from one institution to the next. The resultis that students moving into and out of interdisciplinary programs and between institutions face added uncertainty inthe transfer process.The question of how interdisciplinary courses and programs transfer presents an immediate and practical problem—one driven by the need to ensure transparency in student transfer. The more complex and subjective question isabout how interdisciplinary transfer should occur. For instance, what role should the disciplines—and disciplinary experts (e.g., faculty)—continue to play in the transfer decision-making process? This question is not merely philosophical. It reflects an emerging disconnect between two major trends in Canadian higher education: new interdisciplinaryprogram development—much of which reflects the mix of expertise and talent specific to individual institutions—and increasing levels of student mobility between institutions.While BC’s post-secondary institutions have continued to develop programming that draws from multiple disciplines,not all of this new programming is equally problematic for student mobility: curriculum structure, course delivery, andprogram frequency (i.e., how many institutions offer a given program) all affect transferability. Locating inconsistencies in transfer patterns is necessary in order to identify which interdisciplinary programs are most likely to presentissues for transfer students. The absence of clear pathways for transfer—and of established practices for addressinginterdisciplinary course transfer—can pose conundrums to those institutions that are traditionally engaged in sendingfunctions: community colleges, as well as four-year teaching-intensive institutions that have historically seen many ofThe question of how interdisciplinary courses and programs transferpresents an immediate and practical problem, one driven by the needto ensure transparency in student transfer.Interdisciplinary Transfer in BCBCCAT 1

their students transfer to larger, research-intensive universities. At institutions that experience a high level of outgoing transfer, the development of interdisciplinary programming may represent a strategy for student recruitment andretention, a more efficient use of resources, or a means of capitalizing on faculty specializations. However, decisionsregarding course and program development and structure may also be weighed against transferability considerations.This report examines the patterns of inter-institutional transfer at the course and program levels in interdisciplinaryfields. The primary purpose of this research project is to investigate transfer pathways for interdisciplinary curriculathat have developed between institutions within the BC Transfer System. Institutions outside the BC Transfer Systemare not included as part of this study.Specifically, this report addresses the following questions: How do interdisciplinary courses and programs transfer between institutions, and how fluid is this process? How are interdisciplinary courses and programs that are unique to institutions assessed by institutions receiv- What possible roles could BCCAT play in supporting interdisciplinary transfer and articulation?ing transfer requests? andA fourth question, examining who is responsible at institutions for assessing courses and programs that do not fitcleanly within disciplines, had to be abandoned due to methodological problems, which will be addressed briefly inthe final section (see “Opportunities for Further Research”).This research utilizes quantitative data from course-level and block transfer articulations, as well as qualitative datafrom surveys of participants in interdisciplinary program development and transfer decision-making. Not all interdisciplinary programs offered in BC institutions were included for detailed analysis. Instead, a purposive sample ofprograms was selected.MethodologyExisting pathways for interdisciplinary course and credit transfer within the BC Transfer System have not previouslybeen studied in BC. The diversity of interdisciplinary course offerings and program structures complicates attempts toundertake such a study systematically.This study involves multiple research techniques aimed collectively at providing a nuanced picture of how interdisciplinary curriculum is defined, patterned and assessed in light of transfer and articulation needs. The report comprisesthe following sections: A brief overview of the emergence of interdisciplinary programming in BC post-secondary education, including an examination of the term interdisciplinary and the related terms multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary andcross-disciplinary; A review of institutional use of the term interdisciplinary in courses, programs and organizational units acrossthe BC Transfer System;2 BCCATInterdisciplinary Transfer in BC

A quantitative assessment of existing course and program agreements in a sample of program subject areas;and A review of transfer data collected for this study, including results of a survey distributed to key informantsinvolved in transfer and articulation of multi- and interdisciplinary programs.Multi- and interdisciplinary programs exist at most institutions, but the degree to which students transfer betweeninstitutions is expected to vary by program. This study does not include or analyze data pertaining to the volume ofcurrent student transfers in or between these programs.This study is not concerned with promoting interdisciplinarity or advocating for new interdisciplinary programming,the merits and structure of which are for individual institutions to assess. It is also beyond the scope of this study toanswer the question of who or what should drive transfer of interdisciplinary curricula. Such questions will require alonger process of consultation among institutional leaders, articulation committees and the broader post-secondarycommunity.In order to understand how interdisciplinary courses and programs are currently reflected in the transfer process inBC, a quantitative assessment of existing course and program agreements was completed as part of this study. Datacollection included identification and assessment of course-by-course credit agreements and block transfer agreements (BTAs) for a sample set of program subject areas, selected through purposive sampling to capture a wide rangeof relevant transfer activity, as follows: Programs featuring the term “interdisciplinary” (or similar) in their title;Subject areas of both great and less frequency of offering by BC institutions;Subject areas of both long standing and emerging fields in BC; andBoth applied and more traditional liberal arts program areas.Using these criteria, seven program subject areas were identified for inclusion in both course-level transfer credit andprogram-level block transfer review, as follows:, Humanities and Unspecified Interdisciplinary StudiesAsian StudiesEnvironmental and Resource ProgramsGender/Women’s and Sexuality StudiesGlobal/International StudiesIndigenous/First Nations StudiesPeace/Social Justice StudiesData were collected from late June through early August 2017, using the BC Transfer Guide ( partial list of courses was also initially provided to the researcher by BCCAT.Table 1 identifies the scope of inclusion of available data at both course and program levels.Interdisciplinary Transfer in BCBCCAT 3

TABLE 1: The Scope of the Quantitative BC Transfer Guide Data CollectionSubject AreaCourse-Level Agreements IncludedArts, Humanities and UnspecifiedInterdisciplinary StudiesAllAllAsian StudiesAllAllResource ProgramsSelective sample of 100- and 200-lev- Excluded forestry, earth sciences,el coursesenvironmental health programsEnvironmental andGender/Women’s and SexualityStudiesProgram-Level Agreements (BTAs)IncludedAllAllGlobal/International StudiesAllAllPeace/Social Justice StudiesAllAllIndigenous/First Nations StudiesAllAllA brief overview of the development and prevalence in BC of each of these selected program subject areas appearslater in this report.Defining InterdisciplinarityNo consensus exists as to the best way to define interdisciplinarity. The term has been used to describe a wide diversity of curricula and research program arrangements and goals. It has been applied to programs that have both longhad or only recently assumed disciplinary stature within institutions (such as geography and communications) furthercomplicates matters.The simplest definitions of interdisciplinarity speak to the synthesis or integration of at least two disciplinary fields,often to address a central question or problem (Newell & Klein, 1996; Simon & Graybill, 2010). Klein (1999, p. 9) differentiates between instrumental interdisciplinarity, which is conducted in pursuit of a particular purpose, and criticalinterdisciplinarity, which involves efforts to “restructure knowledge in fields of practice.” This latter form involves a moreseamless “intermingling [of ] disciplinary knowledge to the extent that no one discipline is recognizable” (Reybold &Halx, 2012, p. 325).Interdisciplinarity in all its forms relies on the involvement of disciplinary expertise. In seemingly contradictory fashion,interdisciplinary curricula and research exist both in opposition to disciplinary identity and as natural extensions of disciplinary practice. Interdisciplinarity seeks to transcend the “natural” limits of each contributing discipline, integratingtheoretical and methodological approaches drawn from multiple fields. Within an interdisciplinary course, for instance,a learner should recognize that environmental, cultural, and social challenges cannot be easily addressed through asingle discipline alone, but instead inherently require a diversity of approaches (National Academy of Sciences, 2004).Thus, interdisciplinary practice is often an expressed rejection of the perceived creation of silos within the institution(Jacobs, 2013).4 BCCATInterdisciplinary Transfer in BC

It is often suggested that these silos, organized around established disciplines, stifle innovation and impede problemsolving, whereas interdisciplinarity, as a predictable result of both academic tradition in general and disciplinary evolution more specifically, is innovative and creative. To understand how this is so requires consideration of how disciplinesare conceived, nurtured and transformed. As disciplines build their own internal specializations, and as practitionersbuild relationships with academics in other disciplines based on these shared interests, interdisciplinary practice andtheory can emerge. As Graff (2015, p. 5) argues, “Interdisciplinarity is part of the historical making and ongoing reshaping of modern disciplines.” This process is circular, as new interdisciplinarity represents learning opportunities forthe disciplines, challenging and expanding them to incorporate more diverse components into their own curriculumand research. Interdisciplinary cross-fertilization is symptomatic of institutions in transition, growing and diversifying over time and around new lines of inquiry. As Klein (1999, p. 17) notes, “it is a both/and, not an either/or world.”Interdisciplinary opportunities extend from shared and unifying themes and priorities. All academics are engaged in aconstant process of exploratory thinking and practice; such emergence of new connections and directions is central tothe process of knowledge construction and core to the purpose of post-secondary institutions.One timely example of this process playing out in Canada relates to Indigenous studies programs, which are growing in number and scope. Even basic knowledge of Indigenous epistemologies, methodologies, and pedagogies areabsent from most disciplines (Augustus, 2015); deeper processes of decolonization are more fully explored withindedicated Indigenous studies programs and selectively within a handful of disciplinary and other interdisciplinaryprograms. As Canadian universities and colleges rise to meet their responsibilities in light of the recommendations ofthe Truth and Reconciliation Commission, both by implementing Indigenization guidelines and processes and by supporting the growth of Indigenous studies programs, disciplines will have to reflect on how their bodies of theory andpractice may be stretched and reshaped.Pre-professional areas of study—many of which often have interdisciplinary roots—are not typically classified asinterdisciplinary when data are collected on program type and enrollment. Nonetheless, as fields like communicationsand criminology show, the line between interdisciplinary and pre-professional is fuzzy, if not altogether absent. Preprofessional programs, sometimes referred to as “applied” programs, are designed to support students planning for aparticular career field. Many but not all are interdisciplinary in nature; those that are represent one strong and highlyorganized expression of a particular type of interdisciplinary practice—that focused on addressing a common set ofproblems and practices related to specific industries or professions. They involve multiple methodological approaches,and are often informed by a diversity of disciplinary practices.Finally, it is useful to think of disciplinarity as existing along a spectrum, as seen below in Figure 1.Interdisciplinarity in all its forms relies on the involvement of disciplinaryexpertise. In seemingly contradictory fashion, interdisciplinary curriculaand research exist both in opposition to disciplinary identity andas natural extensions of disciplinary practices.Interdisciplinary Transfer in BCBCCAT 5

FIGURE 1: Spectrum of Integration for Plurarl Disciplinary CurriculaMore undergraduate courses and programs are likely to be classified as cross-disciplinary or multidisciplinary than as interdisciplinary. Cross-disciplinary engagement, at one end of the spectrum, has the lowest degree of integration amongdisciplines: students benefit from exposure to multiple and possibly contrasting disciplinary perspectives on a topic,often through guest lectures, films or other supports, but the level of integration with other disciplinary material is low orabsent.At the mid-point on the spectrum is multidisciplinarity, the most common and recognizable form of integration of disciplines within undergraduate course and program delivery. Multidisciplinary courses and programs are structured so as topool knowledge and begin developing informational linkages between different disciplinary contributions (Huutoniemi,Klein, Bruun, & Huukinen, 2010); they use a structural organization that can be managed through already-familiar tools,such as team-teaching. In its weakest forms, multidisciplinarity does not necessarily attempt to utilize shared or fusedapproaches to research, or to pursue shared or fused analysis of findings (Huutoniemi et al., 2010); in somewhat strongforms, multidisciplinarity leads to a plurality of perspectives being presented together, as the best way for students tounderstand the nature of a central problem. Methodologies are more likely to remain distinct, and the different perspectives and approaches are more likely to be delivered by disciplinary specialists in discipline-specific courses. For example,a first-year multidisciplinary seminar course that explores the topic of vampires in popular culture may be team-taught byan historian, an anthropologist and an English instructor.Finally, transdisciplinarity, at the furthest end of the spectrum, embraces full integration when possible. Researchers worknot only to solve a problem, but also to consider the inseparability of the problem’s constituent parts; they seek out thespaces and information between the disciplines (Bernstein, 2015). Integration, in other words, occurs at all stages of theresearch process, and this can result in the erasure of boundaries between the academy and non-academic populations.Indigenous and community-based learning, the practice of citizen science, and participatory action research are examples of such linked practices.6 BCCATInterdisciplinary Transfer in BC

In this report, interdisciplinary transfer patterns are assessed using the definitions below.Cross-disciplinary: Course-level curriculum that is primarily single discipline but that introduces otherdisciplinary content or approach(es) to a given question. Learners are asked to consider a problem in light ofthese perspectives but the perspectives are not meaningfully integrated. Often taught by single (disciplinary)instructor.Multidisciplinary: Courses and programs that incorporate distinct disciplinary theories and concepts from twoor more fields. At the course level, multidisciplinarity usually involves differentiated activities (lecture, labs, exercises) within the classroom. Disciplinary elements remain separate and independent of one another, even whenlinked. At the course level, commonly team-taught.Interdisciplinary: Courses and programs in which a diversity of tools, concepts, and theories from two or morefields are integrated to such a point that they cannot be extricated from one another easily. The product of thisintegrative approach is unique from what would be generated collectively by the contributing disciplines actingalone. Interdisciplinary courses may be identified as special topics or university seminar or capstone courses.Transdisciplinary: Courses and programs reflective of a movement that rejects the use of disciplines as thestarting point and organizing framework for knowledge development, and involves bringing in “political, social,and economic actors, as well as ordinary citizens” into the research process (Darbellay, 2015).The Growth of Interdisciplinarity and MultidisciplinaryPrograms in North AmericaThe increasing development of interdisciplinary programs has occurred as a response to a combination of changesoccurring within and acting upon higher education. In some cases, interdisciplinary programs are nearly as old assome disciplines most commonly found in colleges and universities. Disciplinary structures began to solidify withinNorth American universities during the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Peterson (2008, p. 42) writes,“In this sudden transformative surge, college curricula both expanded and became fragmented into many separatepieces.” As part of this surge, interdisciplinary programs emerged to address new areas of research and problem solving (Klein, 2014), including urban studies and international relations (Frickel & Ilhan, 2017; Jacobs, 2013).Seemingly more established or older disciplines evolved during this time from hybridization of previously uniqueareas of study—in other words, they were among the first interdisciplinary fields. Biology, for instance, “claimed to bethe science of life” but was the result of mergers among botany, physiology and zoology (Graff, 2015, p. 21). Today,these areas are often viewed as subfields rather than as parent fields of biology. “Humanities” claims status as both anumbrella for multiple disciplines (philosophy, classics, history) and, somewhat contradictorily, as a separate integrated,interdisciplinary field. The emergence of criminology and communications out of sociology during this time reflectsan increasingly professionalized and applied orientation among some interdisciplinary offshoots (Graff, 2015; Jacobs,2013).Interdisciplinary Transfer in BCBCCAT 7

By the 1960s, new interdisciplinary directions were established in women’s, ethnic and environmental studies, as wellas in different area studies (e.g., American Studies, European Studies). Women’s studies in particular emerged as acritique of existing disciplinary approaches, in response to the neglect of women’s contributions to various fields, andout of growing political civil rights and anti-imperialist activism (Jacobs, 2013; Katz, 2001; Newell & Klein, 1996; Peterson, 2008). During this period, cultural studies scholars began investigating the diverse approaches aligned with socialhistory and theory, textualism and identity. These practitioners rejected easy categorization and contested traditionalmodels of humanities and liberal arts curricula while building arguments for transformative social change (Graff, 2015).The development of research and curricula in interdisciplinary sciences usually reflected an approach built uponcross-disciplinary co-operation and collaboration. Adopting such an approach allowed researchers to tackle emergingenvironmental, health, and psychosocial challenges and questions that emerged out of the anxieties of the Cold Warera (Mody, 2017). Cognitive science pulled together researchers from fields such as psychology, linguistics, anthropology and neuroscience (Graff, 2015). Growing concerns over profound ecological changes and the impact of technologyon ecosystems contributed to the development of environmental and, later, sustainability studies and sciences (AACU2011; Newell & Klein, 1996; Simon & Graybill, 2010), while new engineering and chemical nanotechnologies allowed forthe growth of material science (Graff, 2015).The number of interdisciplinary programs in North America has continued to grow, albeit at a somewhat slower pacethan seen fifty years ago; and such programs continue to evolve, as evidenced by the revisioning of many women’sstudies programs, many of which have expanded to address research and curricula that encompasses “the nature ofmasculinity as well as femininity[,] sexuality [and] questions involving gay and transgendered experiences” (Jacobs,2013, p. 211). University of British Columbia’s (UBC) undergraduate major in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justicereflects the convergence of multiple trends in interdisciplinarity witnessed from the 1960s on, interlinking conversationsabout decolonization, textual studies, regional dimensions, and cultural identi

Table 2: Dedicated Interdisciplinary Studies Programs, Courses and Departments in BC Institutions 9 A Brief Overview of Selected Interdisciplinary Programs in BC 11 . interdisciplinary course transfer—can pose conundrums to those institutions that are traditionally engaged in sending functions: community colleges, as well as four-year .