Date of Dissertation

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Social Work

Abstract

This banded dissertation contains three related products examining interdisciplinary education and collaboration in higher education, and discussing implications for research, curriculum development, and social work. Specifically, it addresses the role of interdisciplinary education in social work programs, and examines students’ perceptions of interdisciplinary education and collaboration. Bronstein’s Model of Interdisciplinary Collaboration serves as a framework to guide this banded dissertation.

The first product is a conceptual analysis examining the need for social workers to develop interdisciplinary skillsets. It discusses the extent to which interdisciplinary skill-building curricula exists in baccalaureate social work programs, offers an explanation about the barriers that stifle the integration of interdisciplinary curricula, and provides insights on how to overcome these barriers. The article then explores ways to expand interdisciplinary skill-building opportunities in undergraduate social work programs.

The second product presents mixed method research that examines students’ perceptions of interdisciplinary education and collaboration from an interdisciplinary minor in Child Advocacy Studies. The Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS) was used to measure students’ perceptions. The study also examines students’ understanding of the term interdisciplinary. While students indicated high levels of agreement that interdisciplinary collaboration is important, and there were few statistically significant differences among majors with moderate differences, they were not familiar with the term interdisciplinary.

The third product of this banded dissertation is a summary of an interactive poster presentation entitled "The Perceptions of Child Advocacy Studies Students (CAST) on Interdisciplinary Education and Collaboration," presented on August 28, 2017, at the 21st International Summit on Violence Abuse and Trauma. The presentation highlighted findings from a mixed methods study that suggested that while Child Advocacy students predominantly agree that interdisciplinary collaboration is important, they do not understand the term interdisciplinary.

This banded dissertation supports the argument that interdisciplinary education and collaboration are critical pieces of higher education. Students acknowledge the importance of interdisciplinary skills, but it is clear that more can be done, especially in undergraduate social work programs, to ensure that students are being taught interdisciplinary skills. Further research examining how faculty members integrate interdisciplinary education and assess interdisciplinary skills of their students in undergraduate social work programs should be pursued.

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