Transdisciplinary Connections

The complex nature of the challenges presented by our world, and collectively investigated by our faculty, call for an interdisciplinary response, commonly executed through a number of transdisciplinary connections. Faculty in Nature/Society work with researchers in numerous fields both on and off campus, and students are encouraged to explore opportunities outside the department. Transdisciplinary connections happen at all possible scales; within the department between individual faculty members in the various sub-specialties of geography, within the college under both independent faculty collaborations and the auspices of centers and institutes (e.g., AESEDA, CWC, and EESI), and inter-college efforts such as dual degree programs and university -wide institutes whose specific mission is to support inter-college research efforts (e.g., Penn State Institutes of Energy and Environment). This network of connections provides a extremely rich environment for exploration of nature-society questions and problems at all possible scales, from local to global.

Affiliations with:

  • The Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering, and Development in Africa: The mission of AESEDA is to develop and foster interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach initiatives aimed at harnessing georesources for sustainable livelihoods in Africa, with a focus on underrepresented populations.
  • The Earth and Environmental Systems Institute: EESI is one of the nation's leading institutes in earth and environmental sciences research. Its diverse and world-renowned faculty members are engaged in interdisciplinary, innovative and collaborative research on some of the most compelling problems and issues of our time.
  • Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment: HDNRE is a dual-degree graduate program that focuses on transdisciplinary research methodologies to better understand the human aspects of environmental issues.
  • Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment: PSIEE's mission is to expand Penn State's capacity to pursue the newest frontiers in energy and environmental research by encouraging cooperation across disciplines and the participation of local, state, federal, and international stakeholders.
  • Riparia: Riparia's mission is to conduct, facilitate, and coordinate interdisciplinary research, monitoring, and training regarding wetlands and related resources, with an emphasis on mid-Atlantic and northeastern states.
  • Rock Ethics Institute: The Rock Ethics Institute knows that people face ethical challenges in their personal lives, their professional lives, and as citizens. We help them develop tools to identify ethical challenges, weigh options, consider other viewpoints, and take a stand for their beliefs and the interests of others.
  • Science, Technology, and Society program: STS is an interdisciplinary approach that reflects the widespread realization that in order to meet the increasing demands of a technical society, education must integrate across disciplines.
  • School of International Affairs: SIA is designed as a modern and cosmopolitan community of students, faculty, scholars, and researchers, sharing the common goals of enhancing international understanding, knowledge, and discourse, as well as serving the public interest.