Faculty Senate Discussion

RCM Potential Impacts

Filed under RCM Impacts 2010-11 by beffros@ufl.edu on November 1, 2010 | No Comments

In Fall 2009, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (CHPS) launched a competitive pilot program to solicit new team-taught, interdisciplinary courses from University of Florida faculty members. With financial support from a private foundation, the Rothman Endowment of CHPS, and the UF Honors Program, three new interdisciplinary courses were offered on campus in 2010-2011. Three more courses will be run in 2011-2012. A preliminary evaluation of this program has demonstrated that these courses can play a vital role in jump-starting collaborative faculty and student research and learning in previously unrepresented curricular areas. Their team-taught nature literally allows faculty and students to engage in a deep, applied questioning of topical areas (such as food production and religion in Western culture) that no faculty member could implement alone.

As demonstrated by the successful launch of our pilot program, CHPS and the Honors Program are well poised to institute new course programming because we are not subject to departmental administrative constraints and work directly with the some of the brightest undergraduates at UF. We hope in future years to build on this momentum and expand the number of offerings by writing external grants and finding internal support that will make this program sustainable in the long term. However, we are finding that RCM is creating significant obstacles to implementing interdisciplinary curriculum on campus, particularly in creating and cross-listing team-taught courses that cross college lines. This seems an unintended, and unfortunate, consequence of the RCM model. As the campus continues with the implementation of RCM budgeting principles, good incentives need to be built in to encourage various colleges at UF to participate in innovative, interdisciplinary programs.

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