Vision - Enhance UCLA's societal contributions through interdisciplinary programs
Mission - ICCA facilitates crossing disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of knowledge and solutions.
Universities increasingly recognize that many of society's most pressing problems do not neatly fit into traditional discipline-based categories, and that finding solutions to these challenges requires linking individuals with diverse expertise and experience. At the same time however, most university efforts, reporting lines, and activities follow traditional department and faculty structures recognizable to academics working 50 years ago. If universities are to maximize their potential as innovation centers and educators of tomorrow's leaders, strategies are needed to enrich school-based programs while simultaneously unleashing faculty and students to chase ideas and opportunities unbounded by disciplinary terrains. Working with colleagues throughout the Campus, our vision is to empower the environment where Society’s most complex challenges are solved.
UCLA has a long tradition of interdisciplinary research and education; for example, one of the first interdisciplinary organized research units was established in 1959. Though this long history of interdisciplinary efforts exists, undertaking these types of activities also has been described as a tension between faculty and students pushing the boundaries of scholarship and departments constrained existing resources and needs. Yet this dichotomy devalues the complex balance of fulfilling traditional scholarship with the academic appeal of exploring new fields, as well as an appreciation for the reality that what universities define as disciplines or interdisciplinary is constantly in flux. We look for ways to align departmental and interdisciplinary efforts in ways that does not “penalize” one or the other, but rather draw on the strengths of each to advance knowledge.