What is ‘transdisciplinary’?

Transdisciplinary work involves collaborators from multiple disciplines in a co-equal partnership, in which they collectively define and develop new opportunities (conceptual understanding, theoretical models, etc.) that move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. Transdisciplinarity has been described as a practice that transgresses and transcends disciplinary boundaries and has the most potential to respond to new and emerging human problems and opportunities. Interdisciplinary work also involves partners from multiple disciplines, but the partnership may not be co-equal, or the work may not co-design a new future that spans their disciplines. Interdisciplinary work often manifests as a bridge between disparate disciplines, rather than the co-creation of new conceptual or theoretical models. Multidisciplinary work involves several disciplines whose contributions to a project are largely additive, rather than integrative.

In Innovation Hub, we envision a future of educational innovation that not only transcends disciplinary boundaries, but explicitly inculcates our students with new, holistic conceptual and theoretical understandings of important problems stemming from our deep and co-equal collaborations. We seek to foster and support collaborations that are more than multidisciplinary (more than ‘additive’), more than interdisciplinary (more than ‘bridging’), and instead are fully transdisciplinary. As our world continues to become more complicated, more technology-aided, more ethically-challenging, and more collaborative, we owe it to our students to present them with transdisciplinary educational opportunities that enable their knowledge, understanding, and leadership.