This spring, an eye-catching poster at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) titled “Transdisciplinary Education to Meet Global Health Needs” (below) demonstrated trans-disciplinary work both in design and in function. With six authors from six different universities/medical schools, this poster is the product of the trans-disciplinary work for which it advocates.
The poster calls out the challenges of trans-disciplinary work in academic settings, and suggests a methodology for fostering it through: individuals’ efforts to collaborate and make connections among colleagues, education and training promoting trans-disciplinary approaches and an overall shift in university culture and policies to foster an enabling environment for trans-disciplinary work.
To foster further collaboration among colleagues from different disciplines, the poster presenter provided “sticky notes” and a marker to allow conference participants to share ideas and to physically add them to the appropriate conceptual space on the poster. This kind of outside-the-box thinking sets an example of carving out new spaces for trans-disciplinary collaboration by building upon current academic practices and resources.
Finally, this poster also shines with personality and creativity. Not only have the authors obviously thought critically about their research and the subject matter, this intentionally imaginative poster design also indicates that they have taken the main concept/hope of their poster to heart:
“Can we design universities that are arranged around the open square of ideas —allowing human creativity, compassion and critical thinking to form a 21st century community to address society’s great problems?”
This poster demonstrates how the foundation for the trans-disciplinary future of education for global health is being constructed today.