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Ideological expansion in higher education discourse: A study of interdisciplinarity in undergraduate education Open Access

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Anecdotal evidence suggests interdisciplinary ideas receive significant, positive press. The prevailing commentary details the promises and theoretical benefits of interdisciplinarity, yet countervailing viewpoints are noticeably absent from the conversation in major media sources. Moreover, there is a lack of empirical data exploring the values associated with the term, interdisciplinary. The study examined what ideological assertions are supported through interdisciplinarity in undergraduate education discourse published in The Chronicle of Higher Education from 1993-2013. Employing a critical framing, the study utilized document analysis to examine ideological building blocks (i.e. values, assumptions, symbols, and ideographs) in 177 articles over a 20-year period. Exploring the evolution of interdisciplinarity in the discourse provided an opportunity to present a rich, contextualized meaning of an important higher education concept. The findings suggested a positive, solution-orientation are associated with the term, and offered evidence for an emergent micro-ideology in the higher education community.

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