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Interdisciplinary Programs and Activities Center

The Interdisciplinary Programs and Activities Center (IPAC) is dedicated to promoting interdisciplinarity on our campus by encouraging interdisciplinary curricular development and supporting a range of interdisciplinary programs and activities.

What is Interdisciplinarity?

Interdisciplinarity refers to a scholarly orientation that features "a process of answering a question, solving a problem, or addressing a topic that is too broad or complex to be dealt with adequately by a single discipline, and which draws on the disciplines with the goal of integrating their insights to construct a more comprehensive understanding" (Repko, 2011 - "Interdisciplinary Research").

What is IPAC?

IPAC can best be represented by defining it in terms of what Lakoff and Johnson refer to as a cognitive model. A cognitive model is simply a set of conceptual metaphors, each of which has the same target domain.

IPAC is a Garden

Suggests the idea that IPAC exists to nurture developing interdisciplinary programs and activities. This metaphor serves well to justify the existence of IPAC.

IPAC is a Machine

Suggests the fact that IPAC actually does some work. This metaphor serves well to describe the structure and operation of IPAC.

IPAC is a Sign

Suggests that IPAC stands for something other than itself. This metaphor serves as a reminder that SUNY Oswego embraces interdisciplinarity as a core academic values.

IPAC Mission

The mission of IPAC is to nurture the development of an interdisciplinary community among the loose-knit collection of interdisciplinary programs on campus, a community through which a vital, vibrant interdisciplinary culture will emerge to impact the broader academic community in powerful, positive ways. More pragmatically, the mission of the center is to support existing and develop new interdisciplinary programs, courses and projects.

-From the 2001 "Report of the Dean's Interdisciplinary Group"

Affiliation with IPAC

An effort is made to assure that all programs and activities IPAC supports are, indeed, interdisciplinary in nature. But a wealth of interdisciplinary scholarship that transpires at Oswego has no direct affiliation with IPAC. IPAC is a relatively small operation. It carefully selects programs and activities to nurture and support based on a number of factors including the distinctiveness of the interdisciplinary effort, the perceived impact it will have on SUNY Oswego and its interdisciplinary persona, and the ability of IPAC to support the program or activity in meaningful ways that won't interfere with IPAC's support of other programs and activities. A careful balancing of principles and practices informs the process of establishing affiliations between IPAC and interdisciplinary programs and activities on campus.