Transdisciplinary learning: transformative collaborations between students, industry, academia and communities. (an example of complex problem solving undertaken through university-industry partnerships to create societal value and impact)

University Industry Innovation Network
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Next Practice Book: Challenges and Solutions for Fostering Entrepreneurial Universities and Collaborative Innovation, 2019, pp. 12 - 12 (1)
Issue Date:
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An analogy: Imagine you are invited to a dinner party, but instead of a stuffy sit-down affair, your host asks you to bring your favourite ingredient, and together you prepare a delicious feast of unique and distinct flavours. UTS’s transdisciplinary initiatives are changing the shape of higher education and forging innovative partnerships by bringing together diverse professional fields. With a focus on practice-based and problem-focused learning, UTS educational programs combine the strengths of multiple disciplines, industries, public sector organisations, and the community to turn real-world problems into rewarding opportunities for education and also “learning for a lifetime”. In place of the limitations of artificial disciplinary boundaries, transdisciplinary learning practices create synergistic and innovative approaches to grappling with complex applied challenges. Students, researchers, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders combine their knowledge, tools, techniques, methods, theories, concepts, as well as cultural and personal perspectives. By understanding problems holistically, the solutions that emerge are bold, innovative, and creative, as well as mutually beneficial. We view this as the future of education: good to work with, and good to think with — problem solving for (and with) industry and society. The Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation is re-imagining how education, research, and professional practice can work together to navigate today’s complex problems, and create commercially attractive and socially responsible futures. We also practice what we preach: for example, staff professional development to enact these models in our own teaching; educational programs to provide experiential learning around problem solving within a rapidly changing environment involving students from across different disciplines and cultural backgrounds; as well as policy development and research on today’s pressing “wicked problems” with industry and government.
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