« GeoWeb Conference 27-31July2009 - Vancouver, BC Canada | Main | Graduate School Discovery Magazine available »

Graduate Student Members of Network of Interdisciplinary Initiatives


TO: Directors of Graduate Studies and NII Members

FROM: Gail Dubrow, Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School

SUBJECT: Identification of Potential Graduate Student Members of Network of Interdisciplinary Initiatives

I invite your assistance in identifying graduate students with interdisciplinary interests to become members of the Network of Interdisciplinary Initiatives (NII), a network of those actively engaged in interdisciplinary research, education, and training whose broad goal is institutional transformation in interdisciplinary inquiry at the University of Minnesota.

As you may know, in fall 2006 The Graduate School created a new Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives (OII) to further the mission of seeding, supporting and sustaining interdisciplinary work at the University, and to identify and foster interdisciplinary initiatives and programs that contribute to the University’s excellence in interdisciplinary graduate education and training. One of the OII’s early tasks was to form a network, comprised of those actively involved in interdisciplinary work, to engage members of the University community in dialogue aimed at identifying and developing institutional policies, programs, and best practices to enhance collaborative and interdisciplinary inquiry in the context of the University’s research, education, and training programs.

Toward this end, in spring 2007 we formed the NII to begin to discuss ways in which we can promote interdisciplinary inquiry across the institution. The NII has since produced recommendations for change in five critical areas: education and training, collaborative leadership, community engagement, interdisciplinary research centers and institutes, and incentives and rewards. We are now developing strategic action plans to move forward with implementation of these recommendations for institutional transformation.

The initial call for NII members was issued to department chairs/heads, directors and DGSs, and other interested parties. We now solicit graduate student members to continue to shape the NII’s agenda and to help advance the recommendations that have been identified to date. As NII members, graduate students will play an important role in developing system-wide strategies for achieving excellence in interdisciplinary graduate education and training programs, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. The time commitment required by this activity will not be great (one or two meetings per academic year and some consultation via e-mail). Members who volunteer to participate on NII committees can expect to devote more time to particular issues and concerns (one or two small group meetings per semester, in addition to one or two NII meetings per year).

I would appreciate your forwarding this message to graduate students in your programs whom you think would be interested in joining the NII and helping to influence the direction of interdisciplinary teaching, research, and training at the University of Minnesota. Interested students may complete the NII membership form at http://www.grad.umn.edu/oii/nii/membership/index.html and may visit http://www.grad.umn.edu/oii/nii/index.html to learn more about this organization and its membership. Potentially interested graduate students are also invited to attend the NII’s Spring Assembly on Monday, April 20, 3:00 – 5:15 p.m., in the Mississippi Room of Coffman Memorial Union.

Please direct questions about this initiative to Vicki Field, Director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives (field001@umn.edu; 612-625-6532).

Thank you for your assistance.