Provost offering interdisciplinary teaching grants; workshop for prospective applicants Oct. 23

Interdisciplinary faculty collaboration is fast becoming a hallmark of Washington University in St. Louis. To help support interdisciplinary teaching, the Office of the Provost announces the second round of the Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant Program.

“The global challenges facing the next generation are not constrained by disciplinary lines and will require innovative ways of thinking about social problems and trends,” says Marion G. Crain, JD, the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law and vice provost at WUSTL.

“Cross-disciplinary teaching and learning is critical to preparing our students to meet those challenges. The Office of the Provost created this program with an eye toward encouraging collaboration across school and departmental lines, both to enhance interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students and to enrich faculty teaching and foster research partnerships across disciplinary boundaries.

“The goal of these courses is to model intellectual discourse across disciplines in ways that are synergistic rather than polarized.”

The application deadline for the teaching grants is Dec. 1. To assist prospective applicants in putting together proposals, the provost will hold a workshop from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Danforth University Center, Room 234, facilitated by faculty who were successful in the previous round.

Up to four courses will be funded beginning in academic year 2013-14, renewable for a second year. The program will fund up to $40,000 per interdisciplinary course, to be split between the two participating schools or departments.

Last year, the provost supported four courses through the Cross-School Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant Program. This year, the committee also will consider interdisciplinary proposals that cross department lines in addition to those that cross school lines.

Successful proposals will involve a new teaching collaboration between at least two faculty from different disciplines who are affiliated with different schools at WUSTL or with different departments within a single school; preference will be given to cross-school collaborations. Novel or innovative disciplinary combinations likely to yield fresh insights for students and faculty alike are strongly preferred.

A persuasive case must be made that the intellectual frameworks characteristic of the disciplines represented are fundamentally distinct from one another and yet simultaneously synergistic.

Proposals must be fully elaborated, visualizing the course from the perspective of the student experience and reflecting careful thought and planning on topics such as how faculty will manage course scheduling conflicts across schools or departments, grading obligations, and experiential learning, if any, incorporated in the course.

A committee of faculty and administrators with representation from all WUSTL schools will review proposals and make recommendations to the provost for eventual funding.

The Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant courses from 2012-2013 are:

Adolescent Health — Katie Plax, MD, associate professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine, and Juan Pena, PhD, then assistant professor at the Brown School

Economic Realities of the American Dream — Steven Fazzari, PhD, professor of economics in Arts & Sciences and associate director of WUSTL’s Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, and Mark R. Rank, PhD, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare in the Brown School

Interrogating Health, Race, and Inequalities — Shanti A. Parikh, PhD, associate professor of anthropology and of African and African-American studies, both in Arts & Sciences, and Vetta Sanders-Thompson, PhD, associate professor at the Brown School

Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Geriatric Care — Brian Carpenter, PhD, associate professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences; Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph & Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work in the Brown School; and Susan Stark, PhD, assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Medicine

The complete grant request for proposal is available at

Past successful grant proposals are available on the Office of the Provost’s website,

RSVP for the Oct. 23 proposal workshop to Crain at