Emory’s Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) is home to two interdisciplinary majors: American Studies (AMST) and Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS). In both of these majors, students work in close consultation with faculty advisors, both within and outside the ILA, to design a rigorous course of study that will give them adequate grounding in at least two disciplines. This is also applied to a required interdisciplinary senior research project.
We seek to create connections with faculty outside our department as co-advisors and/or as departmental liaisons.


Faculty Co-Advisors for AMST/IDS Majors

Students are encouraged to approach and enlist the help of faculty from other departments at two distinct stages of their career as interdisciplinary majors:

1. As they declare an AMST or IDS Major

As they declare an AMST or IDS Major, all students are asked to identify a co-advisor. A co-advisor is usually a faculty member they have previously worked with in class, or to whom they have been introduced by ILA faculty. We seek to put our students in contact with faculty who have expertise related to the student’s emerging senior research project. The role of the co-advisor is to meet with the student at least once per semester, for 10-15 minutes, to discuss the student’s choice of courses. The co-advisor considers both the overall direction of their major, and the immediate, upcoming semester. Are there courses in the coming semester that would be particularly important, given the student’s desire to focus on a specified working research question in the senior year?

2. As they enter spring of junior year

As interdisciplinary majors enter spring of junior year, they take a required research design course taught by ILA faculty, IDS 390 Junior Tutorial. In this course, they are coached on the requirements of an extended research project, and asked to prepare an outline and a bibliography, in addition to many other staged pieces of their emerging project. Students are encouraged in this course to consult with faculty advisors with expertise in the question they are researching, to get reading recommendations. Such contact often helps students to enlist faculty mentors for their senior year.
As the students begin their research in their senior year, they will benefit from on-going consultation with expert faculty advisors from other departments. Students may ask for comments and advice on drafts of sections of their writing. Faculty who serve in such a mentoring position can determine the extent of such meetings and advising. Generally, a student would meet with an outside faculty mentor for 20-30 minutes each month, and ask the faculty mentor to read 20 pages at the end of fall semester, and 30-60 pages at the end of spring semester.
In addition, Honors candidates are required to identify at least one faculty member outside the ILA who will advise, read, and attend an oral defense of their project in late March or early April.
Faculty from other departments who advise ILA students can record their activities in the appropriate section of the annual OFARS report.

Departmental Liaisons to the ILA

The ILA seeks to establish liaisons in departments that are frequently involved in the interdisciplinary research of our majors. The role of a departmental liaison would be to serve as a point of first contact for interested students, and to refer students to appropriate faculty advisors in the department.


Please contact Peter W. Wakefield, DUS, at pwakefi@emory.edu, or Kim Loudermilk, Director of American Studies,at klouder@emory.edu.

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