Across the Disciplines

December 21, 2012

Interdisciplinary has become a focus on campus, mentioned in everything from the recently announced new major, Computer Information Systems, which combines computer science and business management, to the Accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship challenge that funds student teams from across majors. But what does it mean to the students and professors who advocate for it as a teaching model?

Essentially, says Provost Russell Pinizzotto, it is what it sounds like: bringing professors and students from several different fields of study together as a team to work on a project.

“This is the way it’s done in industry. When you go out and work, you don’t work alone, you work in teams and have people from all types of different disciplines, so we would like students to have that experience while they’re here,” said Pinizzotto.

He cites the Accelerate competition—as well as many projects started by professors from different fields working together—as examples of the ways Wentworth is expanding its interdisciplinary work.

Two years ago, Dean Driscoll introduced an engineering program to encourage students to study more than one engineering discipline and better prepare themselves for a future of interdisciplinary work.

Engineering major Tim Bouchard, ’16, says that he chose the program because he wasn’t sure what branch of engineering he wanted to study. “I liked the program because I’ve heard from people in the industry that knowing about the different fields of engineering and not just one branch can help me get a job,” said Bouchard.

Professor Jaume, the director of the Engineering program, says that it was started because companies wanted employees who know how to communicate across different engineering fields. “The combination of hands-on engineering classes and the diverse portfolio of courses our students can choose from make this program unique,” said Jaume.


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