Interdisciplinary Community-Based Research: A Sum of Disparate Parts

Nancy Watterson, David Dunbar, Melissa Terlecki, Caroline Nielsen, Lisa Ratmansky, Amy Persichetti, Kristen Travers, Susan Gill


For faculty committed to socially responsible community engagement, the process of interdisciplinary course design and assessment can be charged and challenging. At Cabrini College, faculty are involved in precisely this kind of work as part of the College's new core curriculum, Justice Matters. Our study of two connected interdisciplinary courses marks a shift in conceptual models: how we developed from a service learning approach into a participatory, collective process that embeds CBR protocols more intentionally and explicitly. Additionally, the two linked courses illustrate how interdisciplinarity, when combined with CBR best practices, can offer powerful solutions to community issues which often cross disciplinary boundaries. For colleges and universities serious about their commitment to equitable and socially-just campus-community partnerships, our course development process may serve as a useful blueprint for undertaking similar transitions.

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