Michigan State University

About the MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity (C4I)

Interdisciplinarity is the theory and practice of combining two or more academic disciplines to address complex questions in a broader and more nuanced way than is possible from a single disciplinary perspective. C4I is positioning Michigan State University to become an international leader in efforts to understand and address the most intractable questions of our time. Complex problems such as food security and environmental justice have important conceptual and empirical dimensions that require input from a wide range of disciplines. At the same time, they are problems for people outside the academy, and any adequate response will require input from non-academic stakeholders. This unit draws on the international strengths of Michigan State University in the sciences, social sciences, business, agriculture, arts, and humanities to develop conscientious and transformative responses to the most challenging questions we face.

In recent decades, interdisciplinarity has also become a bigger part of the research and teaching missions of post-secondary institutions, and is also itself becoming the focus of inquiry and criticism. In particular, important philosophical perspectives on interdisciplinary practice have emerged, and the philosophy of interdisciplinarity is a growing subfield of philosophy that offers new insights for interdisciplinary practitioners and a compelling approach to the role of philosophy in society as a whole.

Current Center Investitures

C4I is currently in its startup phase, and we are engaging key individuals who can help shape and advance this transformative initiative. The idea of C4I already has gained significant traction with our friends and a College of Arts & Letters alumnus has committed an estate gift for an endowed chair position to be occupied by the Director of the Center.

Another alumnus is currently considering funding a graduate student position in the Center. Additionally, we are conducting an international search for the Director of the Center and have secured space in close proximity to the Department of Philosophy where a majority of this collaborative interdisciplinary work will be facilitated. Additional funding for the director position, additional faculty, project and research support, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows will be critical to helping the Center grow strategically so it can make an immediate impact.

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