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Collaboration, Disciplinarity, and the Rhetoric of inquiry (CoDRoi) Lecture Series
Upcoming Speakers Past Speakers
Dr. Stephen Fiore
Book cover for Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field
Evelyn Brister
Harvey Graff
David Warsinger
Nick Sousanis
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 3:00pm
Webb Auditorium (7A-Booth 1350)

Unflattening: Reimagining Interdisciplinary Scholarship Through Comics

Nick Sousanis is the first academic to compose his entire dissertation in comics form.  He will discuss his dissertation, which argues through its very form for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning.  His visual-verbal work expands the possibilities for engaging comics within academia while ultimately challenging and reimagining what scholarship can be.  Get an inside look at his book, Unflattening, and hear how his ground breaking work can change the way you think about academic writing.

Our Speaker

Nick SousanisNick Sousanis is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Comics Studies at the University of Calgary. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and it is now a book from Harvard University Press. Before coming to New York City, he was immersed in Detroit’s thriving arts community, where he co-founded the arts and culture site and became the biographer of legendary Detroit artist Charles McGee. He developed and taught courses on comics as powerful communication tools at Teachers College and Parsons in NYC, and will be offering Comics as a Way of Thinking at the University of Calgary in Fall of 2015.

Nick’s work has been featured in such places as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Publishers Weekly, Microsoft’s Daily Edventures, and Russia’s Theory & Practice for the new possibilities for scholarship that it represents. In addition to numerous academic conference presentations, he’s been featured in several academic gatherings around alternative scholarship, including most recently HUMlab/Umeä University in Sweden and the CUNY Graduate Center in NYC. He has given invited public talks at Stanford University, UCLA, and Microsoft Research (which also hosted an exhibition of the work), and keynote addresses at the annual conferences of the Visitor Studies Association and the International Visual Literacy Association.

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Nick's Book/Dissertation
Examples of His Work
Other Publications
Stephen Fiore
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 3:00pm
Innovation Center (87-Simone Center 1600)

Considering Cognition in Collaborative Contexts

Science has long recognized the challenges associated with interdisciplinary research – from the tacit norms associated with the discipline bound university department to the difficulty inherent in communicating and collaborating across disciplines. Despite this fact, we have continually struggled with overcoming the challenges arising from interdisciplinary interaction. This is a particularly complex form of collaborative cognition where knowledge from varied fields needs to elicited and integrated. In this talk I first discuss interdisciplinary research in the context of team science. I focus on how to develop a science of team science that can support a broad swath of group and team researchers such that we can examine basic and applied issues of tremendous societal importance. Second, I narrow my focus to team cognition, with particular emphasis on theory developed to understand complex problem solving.  I describe the macrocognition in teams framework, a multi-level model of collaboration developed to scaffold research on knowledge building and the generation of solutions to complex problems. My goal is provide macro and micro level perspectives on collaborative cognition and show how a multidisciplinary approach to theory and practice can contribute to our understanding of complex problems.

Our Speaker

Steve FioreDr. Stephen M. Fiore, is Director, Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, and faculty with the University of Central Florida's Cognitive Sciences Program in the Department of Philosophy and Institute for Simulation & Training. He is President of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research and a founding Program Committee member for the annual Science of Team Science Conference. He maintains a multidisciplinary research interest that incorporates aspects of the cognitive, social, organizational, and computational sciences in the investigation of learning and performance in individuals and teams. His primary area of research is the interdisciplinary study of complex collaborative cognition and the understanding of how humans interact socially and with technology. Dr. Fiore has been a visiting scholar for the study of shared and extended cognition at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in Lyon, France (2010) and he was a member of the expert panel for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which focuses on collaborative problem solving skills. He has contributed to working groups for the National Academies of Science in understanding and measuring "21st Century Skills" and he is currently a committee member of their "Science of Team Science" consensus study.  As Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator he has helped to secure and manage over $20 million in research funding. He is co-editor of recent volumes on Shared Cognition (2012), Macrocognition in Teams (2008), Distributed Training (2007), Team Cognition (2004), and he has co-authored over 150 scholarly publications in the area of learning, memory, and problem solving at the individual and the group level.

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Group Cognition
Environmental Science
Organizational Science & Teams
Julie Thompson Klein
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 8:30am

CoDRoi Visiting Scholar (Julie Thompson Klein)

Our CoDRoi Visiting Scholar will be offering two seminars. Space is limited, please RSVP here.
Creating interdisciplinary campus cultures: A model for strength and sustainability“International Trends in Discussions of Interdisciplinarity”
The ascendancy of transdisciplinarity in problem-oriented research and tensions in the discourses of interdisciplinary over the past few decades.
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Stan McKenzie Commons, Liberal Arts Hall


Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field"Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field"
A historical and comparative perspective on an emerging interdisciplinary field.
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Eastman Hall, Room 3381


Our Speaker

Julie Thompson Klein is Professor of Humanities Emerita in the English Department and Faculty Fellow for Interdisciplinary Development in the Division of Research at Wayne State University. She has also been a Visiting Foreign Professor at Shimane University in Japan, a Fulbright  professor in Nepal, and Foundation Visitor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Holder of a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, Dr. Klein is past president of the Association for Integrative Studies (AIS) and former editor of the AIS journal, Issues in Integrative Studies. Her fields of teaching have included Digital Humanities and American Cultural Studies. Her books include Interdisciplinarity (l990), Interdisciplinary Studies Today (1994), Crossing Boundaries (1996), Transdisciplinarity (2001), Interdisciplinary Education in K-12 and College (2002), Humanities, Culture, and Interdisciplinarity: (2005), Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures (2010), and Interdisciplining Digital Humanities (2015). She was also Associate Editor of the Oxford Handbook on Interdisciplinarity (2010) and is co-editor of the University of Michigan Press series Digital Humanities @ digitalculturebooks. A recipient of the Kenneth Boulding Award for outstanding scholarship on interdisciplinarity, Klein has advised federal agencies on interdisciplinary research and education while serving on national task forces. She has also spoken on interdisciplinarity throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Russia, New Zealand and Australia.

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Articles & Presentations:
Evelyn Brister
Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 2:00pm
University Gallery

Rigor Across Disciplines: Sustainability and the Paradox of Growth

Science is a growth industry, education is a growth industry, academic publishing is a growth industry. Should we be concerned about whether the growth of the knowledge economy is sustainable? Can we have too much knowledge, and has knowledge become over-priced?

I examine whether the current growth rate of academic research is unsustainable and explore how the concept of sustainability can be applied to research production. Are we producing a wasteful overabundance of knowledge? Other than the unpleasant fact that you can't possibly read everything, is precipitous growth in the knowledge industry a bad thing?

Environmental sustainability creates a paradox: on the one hand sustainable use of natural resources requires that we consume less overall, but, on the other hand, development of more efficient technologies for the long run requires big investments in R&D in the short run. Likewise, disciplinary standards of rigor vouch for the quality of research results, but ad hoc interdisciplinary enterprises promise fast results at the expense of dropping rigor. I call attention to some means of accelerating research production by increasing efficiency, and I also argue that friction in research practices may improve the quality of research at the cost of slowing it down.

Our Speaker

Evelyn BristerDr. Evelyn Brister is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology and a Fram Faculty Fellow for Applied Critical Thinking. A philosopher of science, she studies the importance of interdisciplinary research—and how tough it is to do it well. She knows interdisciplinary research first hand, having earned an MS in Environmental Science at RIT, where she worked on an historical survey of western New York forests. She also applies her knowledge by serving on the board of a local non-profit, The Friends of Washington Grove, that aims to preserve a unique old-growth forest within the City of Rochester.

Dr. Brister has published widely on a range of topics in philosophy of science, epistemology, and environmental ethics. Recent work has examined the ethical duties of climate scientists, the place of values in shaping scientific inquiry, and standards of evidence for interdisciplinary research collaborations.

As Fram Faculty Fellow for Applied Critical Thinking, Dr. Brister has been expanding her work on scientific objectivity to examine the importance of responsible knowing, or the conditions under which we assimilate, publicize, and apply new knowledge. In the coming months she will be working with students and faculty to develop cross-disciplinary course modules illustrating how Applied Critical Thinking is exhibited across the RIT curriculum.

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Harvey Graff
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 3:00pm
University Gallery

Undisciplining Knowledge: The Past and the Future of Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinarity is among the most talked about but most misunderstood topics in education and research today. Seen as the savior of education and society, or the seeds of destruction, proponents and critics talk past each other. Seldom do they seek common terms; typically, they mean very different approaches when they refer to interdisciplinarity. They erroneously dichotomize disciplines and interdisciplines, confuse specialization and synthesis, and misconstrue “integration.” They also date the historical turn to interdisciplinarity too late.

Based on the first comparative and critical history of interdisciplinary initiatives and programs in the modern university, this lecture presents a multi-level analysis that interweaves, first, a discussion and criticism of the ideals, theories, and practices associated, sometimes contradictorily, with notions of interdisciplinarity; and second, a social, institutional, and intellectual history of efforts identified or presented as interdisciplinary over the 140 years of the modern university.

Undisciplining Knowledge reflects Graff’s own education and experience as an interdisciplinary scholar and teacher in new and traditional universities, and in several different interdisciplinary endeavors.

Copies of Graff's books will be available to purchase before and after the presentation.

Our Speaker

Harvey GraffHarvey J. Graff is the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies and Professor of English and History at The Ohio State University.  A comparative social historian, he founded and directs LiteracyStudies@OSU, a university-wide intitiative and interdisciplinary program.  Among his many books are The Literacy Myth: Literacy and Social Structure in the Nineteenth-Century City; The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Society and Culture; and Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America.

Additional biographical information can be found on his website:


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Undisciplining Knowledge:
David Warsinger
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 5:00pm
Gosnell A300

Combating Growing Water Scarcity: The Potential and Need for Desalination and Water Reuse

Global water use has been rapidly increasing due to economic growth, increasing population, urbanization, and industrialization. Meanwhile freshwater supply has changed little and even decreased, as climate change causes desertification, reservoirs are drained, and groundwater resources are depleted unsustainably. Today, over half the world’s population lives in regions consuming nearly all of the local renewable water: the local net rainfall. To meet this intensifying scarcity, many are turning to desalinating seawater, brackish water, and wastewater. Many countries, especially in the Middle East, provide the majority of their water from desalination of seawater. Groundwater provides about 1/3 of the consumed water in the US, and is saline enough to need desalination in many regions in the US and globally. Desalinating marginally saline sources can provides other benefits, including substantial increases in agriculture yields, a decrease in soil salinization, and removing toxins that other modern processes do not remove. Costs for desalination have decreased significantly, and are often near, or within a factor of 2 of the conventional costs of river water. Global installed desalination capacity is more than doubling every 10 years, and will play an important role in combating the world’s growing water crises. However, desalination still faces substantial barriers, including energy and membrane challenges. New technologies and improved scientific understanding are crucial for combating growing water challenges.

Our Speaker

Dr. David Warsinger completed his B.S. and M.Eng at Cornell, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Currently, he is a PostDoc at MIT and beginning a joint PostDoc at Harvard. David completed his graduate studies in a combined 3 years. Prior to starting his PhD, David designed heating and cooling systems and performed energy and sustainability analysis at the engineering consulting firm Arup. David is a coauthor of 18 published and 8 submitted conference or journal papers and a co-inventor on 13 filed or awarded patents. David cofounded Coolify, a startup providing cold storage for farmers in developing economies, which won the national competition for the $100k Ag Innovation Prize. Recently, David received the Institute Award for Best Research Mentor for Undergraduate Students at MIT. He has also received awards for the highest GPA in his class (M.Eng.), numerous grants, and 8 presenter awards at conferences.




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Trent Hergenrader
Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 3:00pm
SOIS Student Commons (Eastman 2220)

“Collaborative Worldbuilding”

Collaborative worldbuilding is a process by which students learn to think critically about social forces at play in a given place at a specific moment in history and how these forces influence the lived experiences of the people who live in the world. Students write a metanarrative describing the governance, economics, social values, and cultural influences and then populate a wiki with entries for people, places, and things and pin them to a map. Collaborative worldbuilding is useful for creative projects such as creating post-apocalyptic futures, alternate histories, or fanfiction in preexisting worlds and could be used in courses in literature, history, or other humanities. Participants will learn about the pedagogical theories underlying collaborative worldbuilding including its roots in role-playing games and will participate in the creation of a brand new world of their choosing.


Our Speaker 

Trent Hergenrader is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he teaches creative writing and literature. His research focuses on creative writing studies, digital writing, and game-based learning, which he brings together in courses where students collaboratively build vast fictional worlds using role-playing games as models for their writing. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, Best Horror of the Year #1 and other fine places. He is co-editor of Creative Writing in the Digital Age, Creative Writing Innovations, and is currently writing a book entitled Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers, all published by Bloomsbury Academic.

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Robert Frodeman
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 3:30pm
University Gallery

The End of Disciplinairty

Within the university, the real meaning of ‘disciplinarity’ has been the ability of those in the academy to govern themselves. This is what is ending in an interdisciplinary age. The effects of this have already been potent. Thus to speak of the end of disciplinarity is not to announce the end of disciplines; disciplines will remain a useful way of organizing knowledge. What is ending is a particular regime of political control – a fact represented by the creation and growing importance of NSF’s Broader Impact Criterion. This talk will explore the possible future of the broader impacts criterion in an age of ‘alternative facts’.

This lunchtime discussion invites faculty and graduate students to develop strategies for humanists and social scientists at RIT to work directly with the STEM disciplines as well as with non-academic stakeholders and to direct their research to policy-makers and other professionals. 

Our Speaker

Robert Frodeman’s recent book Socrates Tenured (2016, with Adam Briggle) questions standards in philosophy and the humanities that favor forms of scholarship that are insular. He argues in favor of shifting norms in the humanities to increase support for public projects. Making academic research useful to the wider world seems particularly important to those in CLA who are interested in cross-field collaborations—collaborations where humanists and social scientists have something valuable to add as integrated collaborative partners to research projects in science, tech, and design.

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Professor, Dept of Philosophy, University of North Texas


1996:  MS, Earth Sciences, University of Colorado

1988:  Ph.D., Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University

1981:  BA, History and Philosophy, St. Louis University, Magna cum Laude



2008-2014       Founding Director, UNT Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity

2008                Professor, Dept of Philosophy and Religion Studies, UNT

2004-2008       Associate Professor and Chair, Dept of Philosophy and Religion Studies, UNT

2002-2004       University of Colorado (Research Scientist III, Center for Science & Technology Policy Research)

2001-2002       Hennebach Visiting Professor in the Humanities, Colorado School of Mines

1999-2001       US Geological Survey (Consultant, Center for Science Policy)

Fall, 1999        Northern Arizona University (Invited professor, Grand Canyon Semester)

Spring, 1999    El Paso Natural Gas Fellow, University of Colorado Law School

1997-1999       University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (Assistant Professor)

1996-1997       Fort Lewis College (Visiting Assistant Professor)

1993-1996       work toward a master’s degree in the Earth Sciences

1992-1993       Fort Lewis College (Visiting Assistant Professor)

1988-1990       University of Texas, Pan American (Assistant Professor)


Courses Taught

Environmental Ethics; Science, Philosophy, and the Environment; Philosophy of Science and Nature; Science and Technology Studies; Philosophy of Science Policy; Philosophy in the Earth Sciences; Public Humanities; Philosophy of Science and Engineering; Philosophy of Culture and Technology; Ethics and the Professions; Social Philosophy; History of Political Philosophy; Metaphysics; 19th & 20th Century Philosophy; Aesthetics; Seminar in Post-Modernism; Philosophy of Science; History/Philosophy of Technology; Ethics; Contemporary European Philosophy; Philosophy of Religion; Ancient Philosophy; Senior Capstone; Intro to the Humanities; Intro to Philosophy; Intro to Logic; Ethics in Science; Heidegger’s Being and Time, Seminar in Plato; Seminar in Environmental Ethics; Philosophy and Policy; Theory and Practice of Interdisciplinarity



1. Frodeman, Robert, and Briggle, Adam, 2016. Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy. Roman and Littlefield.

2. Frodeman, Robert, 2014. Sustainable Knowledge: A Theory of Interdisciplinarity. MacMillan/Palgrave Press.

3. Frodeman, Robert, Holbrook, J. Britt, Mitcham, Carl, and Hong Xiaonan. Peer Review, Research Integrity, and the Governance of Science – Practice, Theory, and Current Discussions. Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2012.

4. Frodeman, Robert, 2003, Geo-Logic: Breaking Ground between Philosophy and the Earth Sciences. SUNY Press.


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Monday - Friday
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