Saturday, March 10, 2007

Invitation - Interdisciplinarity Charette Day

Interdisciplinarity Charette Day
An Invitation to the University Community

The Phase 2 Task Force on Academic Structure is commencing its investigation into the ways in which Simon Fraser University effectively incubates, facilitates, and supports interdisciplinary research and programming by hosting an Interdisciplinarity Charette Day on Friday, March 23, 2007. We sincerely hope that you will join us for what promises to be an informative and creative day for all.

The day has been envisioned in two parts: the first – learning from experience; the second – imagining a new future.

Dr. Roberta Katz from Stanford University will lead us off with an account of the experiences, challenges, and successes for interdisciplinarity at Stanford University. With a long history as one of the pre-eminent institutions for interdisciplinarity, Stanford is currently setting the stage for a new direction in multidisciplinarity. Dr. Katz will also be showcasing the Multidisciplinary Research and Teaching Initiatives of Stanford University (learn more at: ). Dr. Katz is currently the University Manager at Stanford in the President’s Office and formerly Associate Vice President of Strategic Planning. A cultural anthropologist and lawyer by training, Dr. Katz currently provides senior-level coordination and assistance to faculty and deans in a number of the university's high-profile multi-disciplinary programs, including Bio-X and the new environmental initiative.

After Dr. Katz’ presentation and community discussion with her, the rest of the morning will be spent hearing about the successes and challenges of engaging in interdisciplinary research and teaching by faculty from Simon Fraser University and to open discussions among participants. It will be an opportunity for all to share their experiences.

The afternoon will be spent in intense small group design experiences - a “charette” ( - in which we will brainstorm what goals and principles need to be developed to facilitate interdisciplinarity at SFU, and imagine what initiatives, structures, supports, and policies we might create to establish Simon Fraser University as a University known for its strong, innovative and leading disciplines and interdisciplinary research and teaching initiatives.

The Interdisciplinarity Charette Day will be held Friday, March 23, 2007 from 8:30 to 5:00 with a wine and cheese to follow. The event will be held at the IRMACS Theatre in Room ASB 10900 (Applied Sciences Building). Anyone interested in attending should notify Sharon Eng at by no later than Monday, March 19, 2007. Registration to this free event is required to facilitate the planning of the small group sessions and to arrange for catering and venue requirements.

We are requesting any member of the University community who would be willing to share his/her interdisciplinary research or interdisciplinary teaching or program development experiences (both successes and challenges) as a presenter at the Interdisciplinarity Charette Program to please contact Sue Roppel at ( If you’d prefer to share your interdisciplinary experiences in a more informal way during the open discussion periods provided as part of the agenda that would be great too. It is critically important to the overall activities of the Task Force that we hear about your experiences. If you are unable to present or join in our discussion, but would be interested in sharing your interdisciplinary experiences, please also notify Sue Roppel so that we can develop a list of individuals to engage with through other means than the Charette Day.

The Task Force is sincerely hoping that you will join us in what we hope will prove a stimulating day and the beginning of a community-wide discussion on interdisciplinarity at Simon Fraser University.

Office of the Vice-President, Academic