Transdisciplinary Environmental Science for Society Professional Development Program

Project Dates

The Transdisciplinary Environmental Science for Society (TESS) program trains researchers, practitioners, and educators to be well-equipped to address complex environmental challenges. The focus is on theoretical insights and practical skills to improve research collaborations between many kinds of experts. The program is currently designed as a series of three 20-hour online professional development courses: 1) fundamentals of transdisciplinary research, 2) practicing collaborative research, and 3) communication strategies and skills. Other related courses are under development including a graduate seminar and possibly an undergraduate course, both of which will focus on the challenges of global change and practical approaches to collaborative research that engages research and stakeholder communities.

Traditional graduate training—even programs that emphasize interdisciplinarity—tends to overvalue disciplinary knowledge and undervalue other ways of knowing (e.g., from different disciplines, but also from non-academic epistemologies) and integrative ways of viewing a complex problem. Typical graduate programs also commonly neglect the critical need for grounding students in the ideas and concepts that illuminate both barriers and opportunities for interactions and partnerships between science and practice and how to truly become boundary-spanning individuals. The goal of the TESS program is to provide training in the theory and practice of transdisciplinary research so that students have the knowledge and perspectives needed carry out successful collaborative research.

More information about the online professional development program can be found here: