Jim Rochlin
Jim Rochlin

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) program at UBCO is in the process of restructuring. IGS began the restructuring process in 2014.

According to the review of the IGS program, in mid-2014, “College of Graduate Studies (CoGS) Dean Miriam Grant asked CoGS Associate Dean Thomas Heilke to strike a task force to review the IGS Program. The charge to the task force was to evaluate the purpose and the fit for purpose of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program on the UBC-O campus.”

Through an extensive review process in conjunction with nine UBCO faculty and staff, it was found that “IGS requires an extensive revision in order to fit it to the task of establishing and maintaining graduate interdisciplinary studies in accordance with its originating purpose. Reaffirming this purpose promises to maintain IGS as a robust undertaking into the future that will place UBC-O at the leading edge of graduate education in a manner that also best fits its institutional profile. The revision will require a comprehensive re-thinking of its curriculum, administration, governance structures, and budget models in order to be successful.”

According to IGS’s website, the current program “allow[s] students to work closely with faculty across a diverse set of departments and disciplines. The IGS structure allows for inter-faculty and inter-campus arrangements to supervise students and offer courses.”

However, the program is restructuring to take on a themed approach. The IGS website states that students who are “currently enrolled in the IGS program have the option of continuing with their program, or transitioning to the Themed IGS program.”

The 2019 Winter session will mark the beginning of the full-time themed program.

There are six themes within the restructured IGS program. These themes are digital arts and humanities; community engagement, social change, and equity; global studies; power, conflict, and ideas; sustainability; and finally, urban, rural, and regional dynamics.

Dr. Jim Rochlin is a professor of political science at UBC Okanagan and is the head of the Global Studies theme in IGS. When asked what his overarching goal is as the head of global studies, Dr. Rochlin states that he wants to “build a cohort of really outstanding students who want to do interdisciplinary and collaborative research.” Dr. Rochlin believes interdisciplinary research is important because “there’s a synergy [created] by studying something from a number of different perspectives and a number of different disciplines.”

In the newly restructured program, Dr. Rochlin says that there will be a core group of classes that will be team taught, by at least seven people from different disciplines, such as English, History, Nursing, Social Work, and Anthropology, among others. The idea behind this is instead of having just one person teaching, it will be team-taught, to help to build an interdisciplinary perspective.

This year is a transitional year for IGS, and in the 2019 Winter session, all courses and themes will be offered. Next term, in the Global Studies theme, there will be two courses offered. One will be a theoretical course, and the other will be one of the core interdisciplinary courses.

There is also room for growth in IGS in the future. Dr. Rochlin mentioned that the department is growing. New people have been added, and the department has hired an Asian studies specialist.

For more information on IGS, you can visit https://gradstudies.ok.ubc.ca/igs/.