MADISON – The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a long tradition of collaboration among scholars from distinct academic disciplines. This legacy continues in the high-quality research, instruction, and service emerging from the university’s 290 interdisciplinary departments, centers and institutes.

Today, the rapidly increasing pace of discovery has created new challenges and opportunities for cooperative efforts on and off campus. An upcoming conference will explore what this means for the future of the interdisciplinary university and highlight the ways in which UW-Madison will lead the way.

“The Future of Interdisciplinarity,” a free public forum, will be held Thursday, Feb. 28, from 3-8 p.m.; and Friday, Feb. 29, from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave.

Keynote speaker Diana Rhoten of the Social Sciences Research Council and National Science Foundation (NSF) will present a case study of an NSF program that prepares new scientists to transcend the traditional boundaries of the disciplines and engage in collaborative, problem-oriented research.

In addition, five panels of campus experts will discuss new directions for university leadership, facilities, teaching and learning, and public and private partnerships at the interdisciplinary campus of the future. Panelists include: Chancellor John Wiley; Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning; Alan Fish, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management; Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF); Nancy Mathews, director of UW-Madison’s 2009 Reaccreditation Project; and Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

UW-Madison is in the process of establishing several new interdisciplinary research facilities, including the Interdisciplinary Research Complex, designed to translate medical research to practice and find solutions to complex health problems, and the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

“With these and many other major interdisciplinary campus projects on the horizon, this conference is a most timely and relevant conversation,” says Laurie Beth Clark, vice provost for faculty and staff programs.

The program is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), and WARF.

For a program agenda, registration information, and other details, visit