Campus News

New group convened to explore interdisciplinary collaborations

Libby Morris
Libby Morris

A working group has been convened this semester at the request of Provost Jere Morehead to explore ways to encourage and enhance interdisciplinary collaborations at UGA. Vice Provost Libby Morris is spearheading the effort.

“The provost is very interested in having this group examine challenges and opportunities for sharing credit, providing incentives, engaging faculty and seeking sustainability in interdisciplinary collaborations,” Morris said. “We are hoping to have some recommendations ready for him in the fall.”

The working group includes five deans and an associate dean, as well as faculty who serve as directors of centers and institutes. Bob Scott, associate vice president for research, and Fiona Liken, director of curriculum management, also are involved, and additional members may be recruited.

Morris emphasized that the group is not starting from scratch.

“Our first task is to identify and review relevant existing documents and reports,” she said.

These include the Report of the Task Force on Graduate Education that was completed in November 2007 and the supplement to the report completed in April 2008, and the report from the Task Force on Enhancing Research and Research Productivity at UGA, submitted to former Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. in May 2008.

“We want to review these and other reports to see how they address collaboration and interdisciplinary issues,” Morris said. “We plan to revisit recommendations contained in the reports and see what can be done at the provost’s level to enhance collaborations and productivity in research and instruction.”

The group is also looking at existing UGA policies regarding centers and institutes and other joint curricular ventures, as well as what other institutions are doing.

“Obviously we can’t address every possible concern, but we want to decide where UGA can make advances,” said Morris. “With so much external funding these days going to interdisciplinary work, we need to have strategies and systems for doing this work better. We certainly want to reduce obstacles to collaborations.”

The group is meeting regularly through the summer and will next review the earlier task force reports.

Anyone who would like to provide input may contact Morris at