The Risk Takers: The Support Faculty Participants in Integration Initiatives Say They Really Need

Denise Ann Vrchota


This qualitative study reports the concerns of faculty in three pre-professional programs of one food science department as they integrate communication competencies into their classes. The study found that faculty viewed communication activities through the lenses of their disciplinary traditions, applying scientific frames of reference to communication activities. Two areas of concern that emerged are: first, faculty were challenged by logistical issues such as development assessment instruments and assignments; second the risks they took by teaching an area outside of their disciplinary expertise caused them anxieties. Agents of integration and other participants must be cognizant of the disciplinary frames of reference influencing faculty decisions during integration efforts. This study focused on self-reports from faculty regarding the challenges they experienced (rather than disciplinary content issues) while integrating communication activities into their classes; consequently the results and recommendations are generalizable to integration efforts in other discplines.


integration, interdisciplinarity, higher education, scholarship of integration

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ISSN 1527-9316