As a university, we have an organizational structure that puts academic disciplines into colleges, schools and departments. We know that in reality the world operates as a set of interdisciplinary, inter-connected, complex systems. Real world problems are solved when we blur and cross disciplinary boundaries.
It is evident that PSU faculty members embrace interdisciplinary collaborations–in research, team teaching, requiring courses or electives in programs other than your own, and in joint programs. There is no doubt that we will see an increased need and desire to bring different disciplinary perspectives together to advance knowledge, the way we look at things, and to help our students learn to understand the complex world we live in.
I know that interdisciplinary collaborations are not easily achieved. It takes hard work and there certainly are many obstacles that prevent it from happening. It requires creativity, time, effort and a willingness among individuals to work together. Some faculty members at PSU have expressed concern that our new model of performance-based budgeting (PBB) will make it harder for interdisciplinary collaborations. That it will set up a competition between units and create barriers for working together. If that were to happen it would certainly be detrimental to our research and teaching efforts. A budget model should support, not undermine, what our faculty members believe to be important ways of working together.
I would like to bust the myth that our recently adopted performance–based budgeting will result in the demise of interdisciplinary collaboration. It will not. In fact, unlike our prior model of incremental budgeting, PBB makes it possible to recognize and create collaborations within and across schools and colleges at PSU. I have written a PBB issue brief on this topic to explain how this works. The issue brief can be accessed off of the Finance and Administration’s PBB main site (http://www.pdx.edu/budget/performance-based-budgeting) or directly at http://www.pdx.edu/budget/ppb-issue-briefs.
I would like to hear if at any time an interdisciplinary collaboration you wish to do is thwarted by our budget model. If that is the case, we need to work to revise the model to make it possible for collaborations to happen.