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XD@GW: Bridging the Disciplinary Divide

The most important challenges we face as a society are inevitably those requiring cross-disciplinary collaboration. Here at GW we have 100+ faculty members collaborating to understand autism and neurodevelopmental disorders through diverse disciplines such as psychology, chemistry, sociology, neurobiology. Likewise more than 100 faculty are working on sustainability issues. Down the pipeline are many smaller clusters of faculty who are working together to tackle hard problems, and many more are looking for research partners as they begin to launch a new project.

GW’s Cross-Disciplinary Faculty Cooperative (XD@GW), supported by GW Libraries and Academic Innovation, provides opportunities for faculty, librarians, and graduate students from all corners of the university to exchange ideas. With a membership of more than 250, the group also addresses common barriers, such as how cross-disciplinary research impacts tenure and where to publish collaborative projects that don’t fit neatly into disciplinary journals.

One of the most popular events that XD@GW hosts is the monthly XD Tea @ 3. GW community members are invited to attend these reinvented versions of the traditional salon. Each monthly event features a short discussion around an important topic in cross-disciplinary work and plenty of time to meet and network with others who may be looking for academic partners for research or team teaching.

​“We live in a complex world that requires us to be as innovative and creative as we can be to find solutions.” says Dr. Diane H. Cline, associate professor in the departments of history and classics and director of XD@GW. “The idea for XD@GW comes from my passion for ‘network weaving’: finding people with similar intellectual interests in diverse departments and serving as a bridge to bring them together. As I have seen in my own research on social networks in classical Athens, these collaborations can radically change the scholarly discussion and lead to new avenues of inquiry.

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