In the Loop
Student Stories : Jul 27, 2018

Group of UF researchers aims to promote interdisciplinary studies

By Tori Chin (BSPR '21)

What do ethnomusicologists and biologists have in common? In the case of a new research group on UF's campus, it is the desire to promote interdisciplinarity in the studies of undergraduate students.

The creation of the group in early March 2018 was spearheaded by Aaron Colverson, a doctorate ethnomusicology student. The group members’ specialties vary, and current members work in the departments of ethnomusicology, sociology, anthropology, ecology, medicine, medical humanities, neuroscience, engineering, sustainability, communications, arts and biology.

“All these folks have different support from our different departments… but there seems to be a common core interest in promoting greater interdisciplinary research at UF,” Colverson said. “If there’s one thing that we can all agree upon, that is something that we’re really trying to promote.”

The group, which is still seeking funding, is currently focused on creating opportunities for undergraduate students and a model for more interdisciplinary work on campus, said Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, co-founder of the Medical Humanities Pathway in the College of Medicine.

“Part of what the group has been doing is finding what are the threads that connect all of us, and how can we articulate that into a program of study,” Stoyan-Rosenzweig said.

One of the ways the group aims to promote more interdisciplinary studies amongst undergraduate students is by participating in the reconceptualization of UF’s What is the Good Life class, Colverson said.

Recently, the group was accepted to lead a panel discussion at the National Conference for the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). The theme for the 2018 conference is "Arts Environments: Design, Resilience, and Sustainability."

The group also plans on expanding their push for an increase in interdisciplinary work beyond undergraduate studies in the future.

“The most creative work happens when you bring people together from different disciplines,” Colverson said.