Interdisciplinary studies are when one or more academic interests are combined into a single operation. They are flexible degrees that are tailored to an individual’s career goals and lay the groundwork for a variety of future careers. Different scholars, including Professor Benson, have criticized them, claiming that the studies are based on serious conceptual ambiguity (William, Para 2). Professor Benson also argues that if a student lacks a solid grasp on one of the disciplines to be integrated, the student would be a spectator in the interdisciplinary analysis. As a result, he argues that one must have a solid foundation in the disciplines (William, 110). Professor Benson continues to state that these studies impede essential disciplinary competence and that with the scarce time in the undergraduate degrees, one should get adequate training in the more important disciplines rather than the less important interdisciplinary studies (William, 111). In another argument, Professor Benson claims that the interdisciplinary courses are shallow. He claims that the studies do not cultivate the students critical thinking and do not have a systematic grasp of the issues (William, 113). Benson continues to argue that these studies are way too much expensive. Here, Benson claims that the studies need adjunct faculty from mother departments and thus the need for part time replacements (William, 114).
In response to these Arguments, Newell defends interdisciplinary studies claiming that there is no need for mature base in one of the disciplines. Newell claims that academic disciplines need interdisciplinary studies to come alive and be interesting to students. He also claims that when a student is grounded too much to a certain discipline, they will become indoctrinated to this disciplines world view and it will be difficult to critically accept other divergent world views. Mixing them, he claims, needs an advanced intellectual developed student who can switch world views of different disciplines and take them all seriously (William, 110). The major tasks needed to meet the challenges in interdisciplinary studies, according to Newell, include training faculty in interdisciplinary studies so that they may appreciate all world views included in the studies. The faculty already teaching the interdisciplinary studies also needs to be retrained to sharpen their interdisciplinary competence (William, 116).
Newell, William H. The Case for Interdisciplinary Studies: Response to Professor Bensons Five Arguments. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies (1983), https://blogs.commons.georgetown.edu/cctp-505-fall2011/files/The-Case-for- Interdisciplinary-Studies.pdf. Accessed 10 Jun 2017