The interdisciplinary graduate society (IGS) exists to foster collaboration and interactions between students in different departments and divisions. IGS accomplishes this by focusing on three key areas: Innovation, Campus Community, and Awareness. IGS is open to all students, including undergraduates with an interest in post-graduate level research.
Innovation - IGS allows opportunities for collaboration and cross-pollination that would not have otherwise existed by bringing together disparate fields. Academic silos create missed opportunities for interdisciplinary research in fields that may not seem adjacent at face value or that have not been historically connected. Research areas are drawing together in order to address the opportunities of a globally connected world, and the challenges of limited funding and political pressure.
Campus Community - IGS helps strengthen the institutional unity of Illinois. Rather than existing as a collection of separate colleges that happen to occupy the same geographical region, we see departments sharing common goals, values and interests. There are countless opportunities for friendship and support among peers who may not share the same laboratory or see each other in class. Furthermore, a sense of togetherness will help us present a unified front when facing external challenges.
Awareness - The mission of academic education goes beyond that of job training, and a doctorate or master’s degree should imply more than purely technical competence. Today’s complex world requires going beyond knowing how to do one’s work - it requires an awareness of context and understanding of the impact and value of that work in society as a whole. Additionally, successful interdisciplinary projects only happen when participants understand the challenges associated with collaboration and have skills to create spaces where participants can freely explore ideas. IGS promotes students’ understanding of perspectives from all academic fields. IGS provides a space for students to learn collaborative skills and reflect on differences between disciplines in order to create successful and innovative interdisciplinary work. Furthermore, awareness of happenings in the greater research community will promote connectivity throughout our university and expose new employment opportunities for graduates in fields with newly unmet needs.