UCCS-IASP symposium opens university to national, international interdisciplinary opportunities

A June 4 symposium on interdisciplinary learning celebrated the creation of the Interdisciplinary Academic Studies Program (UCCS-IASP) and proposed new ways for UCCS to connect with national and international opportunities.

UCCS-IASP is a new initiative at UCCS that acts as an incubator for cross-discipline degree programs, collaborations and scholarly thought. The initiative was announced by Provost Tom Christensen on April 30, 2021. Launched under the leadership of Sudhanshu Semwal, professor of computer science and director of the Honors Program at UCCS, the initiative will help faculty to develop interdisciplinary partnerships and propose degree programs from three or more colleges.

A June 23 UCCS-IASP lecture by Mitchell discussed artificial intelligence.

In addition, the program will formalize cross-disciplinary partnerships already in existence by reducing duplicated efforts and support new programs and proposals. 

“The UCCS-IASP represents an idea that is central to the university: that we are stronger, and better, together,” said Chancellor Venkat Reddy in introductory remarks. “Collaboration, innovation and supporting each other are part of our DNA here at UCCS.”

“As we train students to enter increasingly technological fields, it has become more important than ever to prepare them with interdisciplinary training,” Reddy continued. “And as we engage in scholarship for the benefit of society, it has become increasingly clear that our most pressing problems require creative solutions spanning multiple disciplines. Interdisciplinary academic programs and research are critical for helping us to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Featured guests included Melanie Mitchell, Davis Professor of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute and professor of computer science at Portland State University. Mitchell is a world-famous researcher of Complex Systems and the founder of Complexity Explorer, from which UCCS will draw the framework of a proposed doctoral program in complex systems.

In addition to numerous UCCS-affiliated presenters, guest speakers included:

  • Aryabrata Basu, staff research scientist at the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship
  • Clint Carlson, program director of Digital Education and Academic Technology at the CU School of Dental Medicine
  • Karen Crouch, research assistant with a focus on immersive technology at the Anderson Language and Technology Center at CU Boulder
  • Deborah Harris, senior principal systems engineering advisor at the MITRE Corporation
  • Frederick Shic, associate professor at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Learn more about the UCCS-IASP on its homepage. Watch coverage from the symposium — available in parts one and two — online.