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Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future

Author

Listed:
  • Linda Vanasupa

    () (Materials Engineering Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Lizabeth Schlemer

    () (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Roger Burton

    () (R. Burton and Associates, 5 Coldhill Road South #511, Mendham, NJ 07945, USA
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Courtney Brogno

    () (English Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA)

  • Ginger Hendrix

    () (American Rookie Freelance, 2990 Hemlock Ave., Morro Bay, CA 93442, USA)

  • Neal MacDougall

    () (Agribusiness Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA)

Abstract

How can academicians who desire a sustainable future successfully participate in transdisciplinary projects? Transcending our hidden thought patterns is required. Paradoxically, the disciplinary specialization that enabled the industrial era and its metaphors now function to undermine our ability to recognize and participate in the transformational learning that is needed. In this paper, we offer a post-industrial era metaphor for transdisciplinarity—that of complex dynamic system—that has helped us to work through the unexpected experiences encountered in the process of transformative learning. These insights are based on an ongoing transdisciplinary research collaboration (2008–present) using action research methods; we focus on the faculty experience. Accepting the metaphors of complex systems, we describe the systemic conditions that seem to repeatedly reproduce the emergence of transformative learning for participants, as well as what one might expect to experience in the process. These experiences include: conflict, existential crisis, transformation and renewed vitality within the necessary context of a safe and caring community. Without the adoption of complexity metaphors, these elements would have been overlooked or interpreted as a hindrance to the work. These insights are intended to serve as socially robust knowledge to support the effective participation of faculty members in sustainability projects of a transdisciplinary nature.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Vanasupa & Lizabeth Schlemer & Roger Burton & Courtney Brogno & Ginger Hendrix & Neal MacDougall, 2014. "Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(5), pages 1-36, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:5:p:2893-2928:d:36050
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Müller, Birgit & Quaas, Martin, 2008. "Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: The role of concepts, models, and case studies in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 384-393, October.
    2. Hirsch Hadorn, Gertrude & Bradley, David & Pohl, Christian & Rist, Stephan & Wiesmann, Urs, 2006. "Implications of transdisciplinarity for sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 119-128, November.
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    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:154:y:2018:i:c:p:117-127 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    emergence; complexity; transformative learning; transdisciplinarity;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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