Skip to content

The Baruch College Faculty Handbook

Interdisciplinary Study Opportunities at The CUNY Graduate Center

Last updated on 1/27/05


Date:                January 25, 2005

To:                   Doctoral Faculty

From:               Stephen Brier, Associate Provost & Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies

Subject:            Fall 2005 Interdisciplinary Studies Courses RFP


[NB: see below for RFP]

Interdisciplinarity has reached critical mass in academic life in the past two decades.   The emergence of new forms of academic scholarship and intellectual inquiry -- including cultural studies and postmodernism, and the broad impact of digital media and computer-based science -- has helped make previously fixed disciplinary boundaries more fluid, allowing faculty and students to explore and incorporate diverse modes of academic inquiry into their teaching and research.   What has been most remarkable is that this cross- and interdisciplinary work has been profoundly transformative in all disciplinary areas in academe, including physical and natural science, social science, and arts and the humanities.   It is virtually impossible to think about working in almost any traditional academic discipline at this point in time without imagining the ways in which diverse intellectual approaches can deepen and enhance the nature of scholarly inquiry.


The Graduate Center is committed to providing interdisciplinary teaching and research opportunities for our faculty and students.   The Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) concentrations, numbering more than a dozen, have been one avenue that GC students have used in the past to explore interdisciplinary inquiry at the doctoral level.   My appointment as Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies in fall 2002 and the creation of The Graduate Center's Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee signaled the GC community that interdisciplinarity would be encouraged in doctoral course work and in public presentations of new academic scholarship.

To further enhance interdisciplinary study opportunities for graduate students and to encourage doctoral faculty members to experiment with new interdisciplinary approaches in doctoral instruction, my office has also instituted a special competitive initiative for doctoral faculty members.   The IDS initiative is designed to provide special funding for interdisciplinary course offerings in a range of fields and areas of inquiry.   Given the recently instituted course limits imposed on doctoral programs, it has become more difficult for programs to support innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to doctoral teaching and learning.  With that in mind, the Provost's Office is encouraging doctoral faculty members interested in creating new interdisciplinary courses to apply for special course funding through this initiative.


Doctoral faculty members interested in proposing a new interdisciplinary course to be offered in the fall 2005 semester or faculty members who wish to offer courses in the fall under the aegis of previously approved IDS concentrations must now complete the Request for Proposal (RFP) available at or forwarded by program APOs before I can approve and fund these course requests.   The Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee, which will review all RFPs submitted in early March, will consider four key criteria in evaluating the faculty RFP submissions for fall 2005 IDS funding:

  1. Team teaching, by two or more faculty members from different academic disciplines, is privileged over a single faculty member teaching the proposed course.   Team teaching does set the bar somewhat higher for such interdisciplinary courses, especially if both proposed doctoral faculty members are campus-based (i.e., their appointments are not at The Graduate Center), thus requiring a minimum student enrollment of ten, rather than five for courses taught by a single faculty member.   We feel strongly that one of the best ways to encourage interdisciplinary inquiry is for faculty members from different academic disciplines to engage in a classroom dialogue about that interdisciplinary inquiry.
  2. A draft syllabus and reading list for the proposed interdisciplinary course should be submitted with the RFP and must adequately reflect a rich diversity of disciplinary sources and academic approaches to the intellectual questions and issues considered in the proposed course.
  3. The faculty members proposing the new course must assure the advisory committee and me that they will make every effort to attract students from a broad range of doctoral programs.   In the case of previously offered IDS concentration courses, the committee will consider how successful those prior courses were in drawing students from different academic programs.
  4. Faculty members proposing new courses not previously taught at The Graduate Center are especially encouraged to apply for funding under the IDS initiative.

 We see this initiative as helping develop new forms of intellectual inquiry and exploration by doctoral faculty and students.   We hope and expect that if such new courses supported by the initiative become popular and established, they will find their way into the regular course offerings of the doctoral programs.   In this way interdisciplinary inquiry will help broaden and enhance the course offerings in traditional academic disciplines.


Faculty members interested in learning more about the fall 2005 initiative can visit the website of the Office of the Associate Provost at: or contact the office via email at for an appointment.

Request for Proposal
Interdisciplinary Studies Course
Fall 2005 Semester

Deadline for electronic submission:
February 23, 2005


Interdisciplinary Studies, like all doctoral and certificate programs, operates within fixed course limits.   Before an IDS course, whether a previously offered course or a new one, may be offered, it must be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee and approved by the Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies.   The IDS Advisory Committee will vet all proposed courses and recommend for funding those that are most broadly interdisciplinary in nature and conceptualization and seem the most likely to attract students from a range of academic disciplines and programs.   Team-taught courses are especially supported.   We expect the review process to be competitive.   Selected courses will be broadly promoted across The Graduate Center.


Faculty members interested in offering an IDS course during fall 2005 should complete the attached RFP and submit it electronically to the Office of the Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies. The RFP must be received NO LATER THAN February 23, 2005 for proposed fall 2005 courses.

The completed electronic document must be emailed as a Word (.doc) or .rtf attachment to .

Instructions for electronic submission:   Faculty members completing proposals should do the following:

  • Download the RFP file (either as a .doc or .rtf document) from the IDS website ( ) by dragging either icon from the IDS website to your computer's hard drive or desktop;
  • open the file using your preferred word processing program (Word or WordPerfect);
  • type answers to each question directly into the document under the appropriate question (please limit your proposal submission to two pages);
  • save the file and give it a file name that includes the faculty member's last name and appropriate suffix (e.g. Brier.doc or Brier.wpf, depending on which word processing program you are using); and
  • submit the file as an attachment to an email that should be sent to the Dean's office email address ( ).   Be sure to copy yourself in the cc: line of the email to keep a time stamped copy of the file.

Anyone with questions about this process or the technical aspects of the submission should feel free to call the Dean's office at x7290.


1. Proposed Course Name:  (Limited to 30 characters including spaces.)

2. Preferred day of the week and time slot for course scheduling:

3. Names and program affiliations of faculty members who will teach the proposed IDS course.

4. Brief description of the proposed course, with special attention to the interdisciplinary nature of what will be taught in the course.   Please include a course reading list and syllabus for committee review.

5. Does the proposed course include guest speakers or presentations from disciplines other than those of the teachers?   Please provide details.   (This is not a requirement for funding.)

6. Has the course been offered before as part of an existing IDS concentration?   If so, please indicate who taught the course (and their disciplinary fields) and if the course enrolled students from different Ph.D. programs?

7. In what ways does the proposed course contribute to a dialogue between or among disciplines about their traditional academic domains and their relationship to one another?

8. Expected student enrollment in the course, including academic disciplines from which student enrollees in the course are likely to be drawn:

9. What efforts will be made to recruit students from different disciplines?   Provide specific recruitment details (e.g., email lists, posters, presentations at program meetings, etc.)

10. Please provide additional details or comments about the proposed course that you think the members of the Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee should know to help them understand why and how the proposed course realizes the IDS program's and The Graduate Center's larger interdisciplinary goals and objectives.

11. Please provide an email address, mailing address, and telephone for each faculty member who will be teaching this course.