Phi Beta Cons

‘Interdisciplinary Studies’ Shouldn’t Be a Joke, But It Is

In today’s Pope Center piece, Troy Camplin discusses that strange campus phenomenon known as “interdisciplinary studies.” He argues that this could and indeed should be a serious field of study, pointing to a book making a strong case for it. Unfortunately, colleges and universities don’t take it seriously, allowing it to serve as a weak “create your own major” playground for students who aren’t making it in fields where some semblance of academic standards still hold sway. He mentions a student who was pre-med, but couldn’t handle the work; became a biology major, but couldn’t handle that either; and was finally advised to become an interdisciplinary-studies major. The student was told that medical school was still a good possibility for her. Talk about stringing a student along!

Camplin asks, How anyone could teach a demanding interdisciplinary-studies course when the majority of students taking it are the flotsam and jetsam of majors that still give students bad grades?

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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